A Sudden Roar: The Case of LTE Handsets in 2012

Consider this year as “the LTE breakout” year. 2011’s 6.8 million units of LTE handsets will look like a small reality in a big dream-come-true, when the expected 10 fold increase of 67 million LTE handsets comes into existence. According to the latest report from research firm Strategy Analytics, we’re very much looking at a change in mobile hardware technology.

Leading Smartphone Companies In the Race

Thanks in large part to aggressive LTE network expansions by carriers like AT&T and Verizon, the surge will be co-led by the likes of Apple, HTC and Samsung. The carrier-manufacturer tandem is what seems to make the 67 million an achievable reality, according to Strategy Analytics. Additonally, manufacturers with generally tier-2 level sales in terms of smartphones, such as Fujitsu, LG, Motorola Mobility, Nokia and Pantech will also seek to tap surging demand for the devices. The forecast from the company resonates one from In-Stat research, which predicted in October 2011 that global LTE handset sales would hit 154 million in 2015.

While LTE handsets will remain a tiny fraction of overall handset sales in 2012, the growth will be driven by carriers building out their networks and then seeding LTE devices into the market. The biggest growth markets will be the United States, Japan and South Korea, where operators are racing to build out LTE networks, Strategy Analytics said.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility & Sprint Nextel: A Three-Way, Long-Distance Battle

The carriers are all set to capture as much ground as they can. Verizon Wireless plans to expand its LTE network coverage to 260 million POPs by year-end, and currently offers 12 different LTE smartphones. AT&T Mobility, which plans to expand its LTE network from 74 million POPs to around 150 million by the end of the year, currently offers five LTE smartphones. Sprint Nextel meanwhile, plans to launch LTE in 10 cities by mid-year and has said that around 15 LTE devices, including handsets, tablets and data cards, are on track to be launched in 2012.L’ora legale live streaming film

Despite the boom, there are potential pitfalls for carriers, Strategy Analytics warned. “The LTE phone segment is expanding at a rapid rate this year, but there will undoubtedly be growing pains in this early phase,” Strategy Analytics analyst Tom Kang said in a statement. “Many LTE phones and data plans will be relatively expensive, which means operators will need to invest generous subsidies to make 4G more affordable for subscribers.”

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