The number of LTE-enabled smartphones shipped in 2013 will hit 275 million units, three-times the total for 2012, according to a forecast by analyst firm Strategy Analytics.
The total number of LTE-enabled smartphones shipped in 2012 is estimated at 90.9 million units.
The US, UK, Japan, China and South Korea markets will lead the growth in shipments, according to senior analyst Neil Shah.
Demand will be driven by operators such as Verizon Wireless, Everything Everywhere and NTT Docomo aggressively expanding their LTE networks, while vendors such as Apple, Samsung, LG, Nokia, HTC, Motorola, RIM, Huawei, ZTE and Pantech will also play a role.
“It is clear that 2013 will be the year of 4G. LTE has quickly become a high-growth, high-value market that no operator, service developer, component maker or device vendor can afford to ignore,” said Strategy Analytics’ executive director Neil Mawston.
However, Mawston’s analyst colleague Linda Sui warned that new entrants to the LTE smartphone market – potentially Amazon and Mozilla – will not find it easy to make an impact and will need “breakthrough products that are strongly differentiated in areas such as design, price or services”.