[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

LTE will go mass market in 2013, as more countries join South Korea, the USA and Japan in pushing the technology aggressively into the smartphone market, says research outfit Strategy Analytics.

Explosive growth in the last quarter helped to make 2012 a breakthrough year for LTE services as connections in the dominant markets of South Korea, the USA and Japan rocketed. There were 88 million connections on LTE networks at the end of 2012, with Strategy Analytics predicting this number will grow to 322 million in 2013 and 1.6 billion in 2017.

The iPhone 5 helped propel the market forward in Q4 2012, but, due to its regionally focused frequency band choices, will create a short-term phenomenon of more LTE devices than connections on LTE networks. Nevertheless, the iPhone 5 has put further weight behind the increasingly strong support for LTE networks at 1800MHz, which will contribute to a doubling of global LTE coverage from 11% of the world’s population at the end of 2012 to 22% by end 2013.

Susan Welsh de Grimaldo (Director, Mobile Broadband Opportunities service, Strategy Analytics): Early adopter usage profiles and some premium pricing by operators creates an attractive revenue picture for LTE services in the medium term.

Combined with strong device volumes and network expansion, LTE will overtake WCDMA in 2016 to become the largest revenue-generating technology in the wireless market.