Rapid adoption of LTE is expected to stimulate convergence of consumer electronic devices including smartphones, tablets and PCs, research firm IHS predicts.
The firm forecasts the global LTE subscriber base will surge 334% in 2012 to 73.3 million, and a further 181% in 2013 to 205.7 million. By 2016, there will be nearly 1.2 billion LTE subscribers.
While subscribers to 3G services will outnumber 4G users for some time, LTE will dwarf its older cousin by growth rate. Indeed, IHS doesn’t expect the pace of growth in 3G subscribers to exceed 35% per year ever again.
The improved applications enabled by the speeds of LTE services, such as HD video streaming and multi-user online gaming are, meanwhile, tipped to drive handset makers to further pursue convergence.
Convergence is already a top priority for players including Microsoft (with its Windows 8 strategy) and Google, showing that vendors are increasingly pursuing a multi-screen, common UI strategy to drive consumer adoption. The trend is also becoming make-or-break for some vendors, IHS said, noting that an inability to achieve convergence is part of the reason for the decline of RIM and Nokia.