According to ABI Research’s (News - Alert) “4G Subscriber, Device and Networks Market Data”, 4G devices are expected to generate 87 million in unit sales this year.
A greater share of 4G device market now focuses on LTE. As this support grows, service provider and vendor support have fallen away from WiMAX (News - Alert).
The 4G industry is gaining momentum as a range of 4G-enabled mobile devices, from USB dongles, smartphones, tablets, 4G portable hotspots and wireless broadband CPE modems, are shipping from assembly line to retail stores.
“Observing the success of 3G cellular services, it is clear there is a natural evolutionary demand from end-users, both business and consumer, to jump onto the 4G data bandwagon,” according to researchers at ABI Research. “However, there are still some teething issues that will need to be worked through.”
Despite the fact that 4G is gaining popularity as high-speed technology, higher costs of 4G-enabled devices and 4G services are a deterrent for many customers. Service providers in Western Europe say many customers are not prepared to pay the premium for 4G handsets and 4G tariffs.
According to ABI Research, the big catch about LTE (News - Alert)/4G is the “high-definition” capability, allowing users to perform video streaming and engage in more interactive/immersive social networking and gaming experiences.
The tough competition among LTE device vendors is likely to bring down the cost of handsets in the near future. The research agency estimates 10 to 20 percent fall in their price over the next two years. “As evidenced by the Australian iPad 3 promotion fiasco, when the iPad 3 was promoted as ‘LTE-ready,’ even though the modem is unable to access the Australian LTE spectrum band, the number of LTE spectrum bands will hamper initial pricing and product roll-out,” said Philip Solis, research director, mobile devices.
“Nevertheless, in addition to 61 million 4G handsets being shipped in 2012, we estimate 26 million 4G non-handset products will be shipped,” Solis added. “In the short-term, most of that will reflect customers purchasing USB dongles for legacy laptops and notebooks, followed by customer premise equipment or home modem purchases.” According to another report from Reportlinker, the growing demand for mobile broadband services is driving an increasing number of commercial LTE network deployments. As a result, the number of LTE subscriptions already surpasses 7 Million subscriptions worldwide, and over 300+ commercial LTE user device launches.
As the market has accelerated, the LTE industry witnessed revenues for over $ 19.1 Billion in 2011 alone. Projected to grow at a CAGR of over 86 percent, the 4G community will likely account for $ 410 Billion by the end of 2016.
Edited by Braden Becker