LTE is on the rise, friends. Verizon continues to expand LTE coverage across the United States, AT&T are looking to do the same, and Europe will eventually get there in the next couple of years. Shipments of LTE phones are starting to pick up too, with the latest data from Strategy Analytics predicting that in 2012 alone, shipments will increase tenfold.
During 2011, when LTE networks were in their infancy, global LTE phone shipments were relatively small, coming in at 6.8 million. Strategy Analytics predicts a massive jump in shipments during 2012, potentially reaching 67 million units.
That growth will be the combination of two things. First, carriers in various countries, like the United States, South Korea, and Japan, will continue to expand their LTE networks. Second, just about every handset manufacturer will try to capitalize on the LTE push, including the high speed capability in their latest handsets going forward.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, believes that 2012 will be a “breakout year” for LTE, and that it’s a technology “that no operator, service developer, device vendor or component maker can afford to ignore.” That doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and unicorns, though: Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics says that there will be “growing pains”, mostly due to the relatively expensive data costs that come with LTE. Battery life is also a concern, something that has been already been noted about the early LTE handsets that are available.