Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones fuel LTE phones growth in 2012

Telecom Lead Asia: Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones have fueled the growth of LTE phones in 2012.

New sign-ups and conversion of 3G subscribers with LTE-capable handsets is expected to gather pace in 2013 and 2014.

ABI Research forecast that 785 LTE million subscribers by 2017 from 58 million in 2012 will generate $14 billion in annual service revenues.

When 3G handsets came into the market in 2003 and 2004, there was pretty much a 1:1 correlation between a 3G handset sold and a subscription upgraded from 2G to 3G.

“That is not happening with every LTE handset sale. 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,” said Jake Saunders, VP – Forecasting at ABI Research.

ABI Research says the current purchasing momentum is expected to have boosted LTE-enabled handsets to 91 million units in 2012.

Almost 95 percent of handsets shipped can be attributed to the North American and Asia-Pacific market.

LTE USB-Dongles may have found their way under the Christmas tree for consumers, and also put on IT Department Purchase Orders for businesses, but at 6 million units, it was overshadowed by LTE smartphone sales.

Media tablet sales are proving robust. However ABI Research estimate only 3.35 million media tablets shipped with LTE since the majority of media tablet purchasers are proving price sensitive and happy to settle for Wi-Fi-only.

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