Let’s face it, 4G LTE technology is being hyped quite a bit in the media. What’s not to get excited about? Who wouldn’t want to download full movies while in the back of a taxicab? Who wouldn’t smile at the thought of being able to play World of Warcraft while waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles office to get your license renewed? Regardless of your need for superfast totally wireless data speeds, 4G Long Term Evolution is hyped as the answer. Does it live up to the media billing? Given the hurdles it has overcome and the fact that it has beaten its rival WiMax technology, many observers say that its advantages outweigh its drawbacks. Based on a recent anlysis by industry research firm, Visiongain, the overall number of shipments for smartphone units with 4G LTE chipsets is set to hit 27.9 million by the end of five years starting in 2012. The 2012 to 2017 projected shipment numbers make it clear that an increasing number of the global smartphone market is going to rapidly adopt the technology.
While 27.9 million is a huge number, in terms of total market size, it is quite a modest share. The reason 4G LTE handsets might not get adopted as quickly as they could be is because the technology does not just rely on the handset. It relies on the presence of a 4G LTE network infrastructure. Depending on the locality, the spectrum for LTE might already be allocated to another wireless technology and might require regulatory approval for repurposing to 4G LTE. This is exactly what is happening in certain markets in the US and other jurisdictions.
Visiongain based its projection on three metrics: 4G LTE service revenues, 4G LTE handset subscribers, and handset shipments. While the future looks bright for this technology and while there is no doubt that consumers will clamor for it as they get used to the smooth speed of LTE, there will be some time needed for adjustment waiting for infrastructure and regulators to get up to speed.