2012 Was The Year Of 4G LTE With 103 Million Mobile Devices Shipped

By Jimmie Geddes email: j.geddes@mobilenapps.com | Jan 14, 2013 03:37 PM EST

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A total of 103 million 4G LTE mobile devices were shipped in 2012. The number of 4G LTE devices shipped in 2012 can be attributed to two important devices - Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S3. Both the devices provided a substantial lift in the number of 4G LTE smartphones shipped globally. An estimated 91 million LTE-equipped smartphones were sold during 2012, representing 88 percent of all LTE devices sold. A whopping 95 percent of those 4G LTE smartphones were sold in North America and Asia-Pacific markets alone.

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Sales of 4G LTE USB dongles, which are used to add a 4G connection via a device's USB port, sold about 6 million units. USB dongles surprisingly sold more units than 4G LTE-enabled tablets, which include devices like Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, Motorola's Xyboard, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, etc.

ABIresearch believes the reason for the relatively low number of 4G LTE-enabled tablets sold comes down to two reasons. Customers aren't willing to pay the premium in price for a tablet that includes a built-in 4G LTE radio and are willing to settle for the cheaper Wi-Fi-only version of the device. It is also believed many customers just don't want to pay for another data plan on top of their current smartphone plan, and this extra cost alone factors into the overall price of a 4G LTE tablet.

"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 US$14 billion in annual service revenues," said Phil Solis, Research Director, ABIresearch.

Get ready for LTE to become part of your life, if it hasn't already.

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