Growing deployments of 4G technology will lead to a tenfold surge in LTE handset shipments in 2012, Strategy Analytics predicts.
The research firm tips global device shipments to grow from 6.8 million units in 2011 to 67 million in 2012. The growth will be fuelled by demand from the US, Japan and South Korea, as carriers in those markets ramp LTE deployments.
Vendors expected to lead the charge include Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Pantech and Fujitsu, analyst Neil Shah says.
However, the growth won’t all be plain sailing, Strategy Analytics director Tom Kang notes. “[T]here will undoubtedly be growing pains in this early phase. Many LTE phones and data plans will be relatively expensive, which means operators will need to invest generous subsidies to make 4G more affordable.”
The industry will also need to address consumer’s concerns over the battery life of LTE handsets, and the potential for bill shock from the higher data consumption the devices encourage, Kang adds.
Evidence of bill shock is already emerging, with reports last week that Apple’s iPad 3 has caused some users to burn through their entire month’s data allowance in a matter of hours.