Report: U.S. grabbed one-third of LTE smartphone market in Q1

One out of every three LTE smartphones shipped globally in the first quarter came to the United States, according to a new research report, another indication of the country's continued leadership in the LTE market.

According to Counterpoint's Market Monitor, the U.S. led in the LTE smartphone market, which grew 91 percent year-over-year in the first quarter. According to Counterpoint's Neil Shah, LTE smartphones reached their highest ever first-quarter shipments, contributing to more than a fourth of the total smartphones shipments globally in the period.


Source: Counterpoint. Click here for more.

That the U.S. led the LTE smartphone market is not surprising. All four Tier 1 carriers have deployed LTE networks covering more than 200 million POPs. Indeed, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) recently predicted that by 2015 LTE will represent the majority of subscriptions in North America, growing to around 85 percent in 2019, the largest proportion of any region in the world.

Counterpoint also found though that in the first quarter China surpassed South Korea in terms of LTE smartphone shipments and will surpass Japan by the end of 2014 to become the second-largest LTE smartphone market behind the U.S. Other researchers and analysts, including at CCS Insight, have pointed to China's growing LTE networks as one of the factors that will drive smartphone sales overall this year.

In terms of device makers, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics dominated the global LTE landscape with more than three-quarters of the total LTE market in the first quarter. Apple alone took 42 percent of the market, according to Counterpoint, despite the fact that it has only three LTE smartphones: the iPhone 5s, 5c and 5.

Samsung saw a slight bump in its LTE smartphone share as it more than doubled its volumes year-over-year, "thanks to its wider portfolio, reach and marketing muscle," Shah wrote. In the second half of the year, Counterpoint expects Apple and Samsung's share of the LTE smartphone market to decline, although not markedly, as Chinese OEMs such as Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Yulong's Coolpad and others increase their LTE smartphone shipments at China Mobile with phones that cost less than $160 or so.

For more:
- see this Counterpoint site

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Analysts: LTE, Chinese growth to drive smartphones to 1.24B sales in 2014
IDC: China's smartphone growth to soar in 2014, thanks in part to TD-LTE

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