Chip vendor predicts 'millions' of LTE handsets by 2012

LTE chip maker Altair Semiconductor is predicting that the first LTE handsets will be commercial in the second half of next year, but that the devices will not gain mass market appeal until 2012. Once they do reach a mass audience, the company said there will be "millions" of units on the market.

Eran Eshed, Altair's co-founder and vice president of marketing and business development, said the company will debut its first LTE radio modem this November. In an interview with Unstrung, he said phones using Altair chips could get on the market later in 2010. "You'll see real handsets in real trials in the second half of 2010," he said. After that, Eshed said he expects volumes to rise in 2011, and then reach a mass market level by 2012. "That means millions of units," he said.

At least 12 separate operators are launching LTE networks around the world in 2010, according to ABI Research. The network deployments are expected to outpace the availability of LTE phones, and the first devices are expected to be laptop cards.

However, Eshed's prediction may not be that far off. A research report from Forward Concepts in July predicted that there will be 56 million LTE phones on the market by 2013. Other chip makers, including Qualcomm, have started playing in the LTE chipset field.     

For more:
- see this Unstrung article

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