2013 Will Be The Year Of LTE

By Jimmie Geddes | Dec 20, 2012 07:45 AM EST

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According to Strategy Analytics 2013 is shaping up to be the year of LTE. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is marketed as 4G LTE.  It's a wireless standard that is based on GSM/EDGE as well as UMTS/HSPA mobile networks. LTE can produce download speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s and uplink speeds of 75 Mbit/s. In other words LTE is super-fast.

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Strategy Analytics is predicting that shipments of LTE devices in 2013 will reach 275 million units. This is a huge increase compared to the 90.9 million LTE devices that were shipped in 2012. Strategy Analytics expects 2013 will see three times as many LTE devices shipped than 2012. That is quite an increase to say the least.

The reason Strategy Analytics is predicting these kinds of numbers is that it expects new companies to begin shipping LTE devices. It expects that Amazon will launch its first smartphone in 2013 and it will have an LTE radio in it. Amazon knows that more and more people are using smartphones and tablets to buy products from Amazon and they would like those customers to stay in Amazon's ecosystem. What better way to make it convenient than offering them an Amazon-branded smartphone with LTE to make that "one click buying" even faster. Amazon recently launched its Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE to allow customers to purchase and use Amazon's services at 4G speeds. It only makes sense for Amazon to launch an LTE smartphone since it has already seen huge success with its Kindle Fire tablets.

Strategy Analytics also believes that Apple and Samsung smartphones with LTE will continue to dominate 2013. The three major carriers in the US have LTE networks, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. Sprint's LTE coverage is considerably lower compared to Verizon and AT&T because Sprint was the first carrier in the US to launch a 4G smartphone back in 2010 running on its 4G WiMAX network, the EVO 4G. Sprint took a chance by investing in WiMAX hoping it would take off but in 2012 Sprint announced that it would no longer be releasing WiMAX phones so it could focus its attention on LTE which was clearly the 4G standard.

T-Mobile is the only carrier in the US that does not have an LTE network but they have already committed to LTE and expect to have their LTE network up and running in 2013.

Is it any coincidence that Apple has finally struck a deal to allow T-Mobile to begin selling iPhones and iPads in 2013? 2013 will be definitely be the year of LTE!

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