About 103 million 4G LTE (News - Alert) mobile devices were shipped in 2012, according to a report by ABI research that says 95 percent of handsets were shipped to the North American and Asia-Pacific market.
Growth in shipment has been attributed to Apple’s iPhone (News - Alert) 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, both of which gave a boost to LTE-enabled handset shipments last year.
But these two popular mobile devices have not helped the 4G mobile operators with all LTE handsets they tried to sell during the last 12 months, according to ABI’s report, “4G.”
3G handsets were introduced in the market about a decade ago, and when they were introduced, there was a delicate, equal balance between a 3G handset sold, and a subscription upgraded from 2G to 3G.
“That is not happening with every LTE handset sale,” said Jake Saunders, VP – forecasting at ABI Research (News - Alert). “But carriers should not be panicking – it is seeding the market with 4G handsets. A number of purchasers are simply coveting their favorite ‘brand’ and/or carrying out a much needed update to one of their key fashion accessories.”
This holiday season, shoppers made a beeline for LTE USB-Dongles, and these products were also sought after by IT departments of organizations. But in 2012, the number of LTE USB-Dongles sold were only six million compared to 103 million 4G LTE mobile devices shipped in 2012.
The number of media tablets shipped with LTE was also less – 3.35 million – because the majority of buyers want to buy cheap products and prefer Wi-Fi compared to LTE.
“New sign-ups and conversion of 3G subscribers with LTE-capable handsets should gather pace in 2013 and 2014. By 2017 we are anticipating 785 LTE million subscribers, up from 58 million at the end of 2012 – generating $14 billion in annual service revenue,” said Phil Solis, research director.
LTE is growing in popularity. Mobility Techzone, a media site dedicated to the mobile broadband industry, recently announced the winners of the 2012 LTE Visionary Awards.
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Edited by Braden Becker