We are about to enter a year that will prove memorable for fourth-generation (4G) technology, or so Strategy Analytics believes. According to the research company, global shipments of LTE-enabled smartphones will soar in 2013, trebling in number compared to the figure recorded in 2012.
Strategy Analytics forecasts that 275 million LTE smartphones will be shipped next year compared to 90.9 million units leaving factories in 2012. Senior analyst Neil Shah said that growth would be spurred by several major markets, namely the US, the UK, Japan, China and South Korea. Network operators in those countries have undertaken aggressive expansion of their 4G infrastructure to cope with exploding demand for mobile broadband. With regard to handset vendors, the vanguard will feature the likes of Apple, Samsung, LG, Nokia, HTC and Motorola, Shah said. His colleague Linda Sui added that the highly valuable LTE smartphone market would eventually lure new players but they should be prepared for ferocious competition. Newcomers will have little chance of success unless they come out with strongly differentiated products with regard to design, price and services.
Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston summarised the prognosis by stating that 2013 would undoubtedly be the year of 4G. Global shipments of LTE smartphones will pass the quarter-billion mark for the first time. Many operators and handset vendors will be bringing out dozens of LTE-enabled models, offering them in many countries across the globe. The LTE market has grown fast to become a very valuable one and operators, service providers, component manufacturers and handset makers cannot hope to be successful if they ignore it, Mawston stated.
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