87 million 4G-equipped mobile devices are expected to ship worldwide this year, according to figures from ABI Research. That’s a 294% increase from last year’s total of 4G smartphones, USB dongles, tablets, portable WiFi hotspots and wireless broadband modems. Most are expected to be LTE devices, with WiMAX now seeing less support.
Philip Solis, research director for mobile devices at ABI Research, said “As evidenced by the Australian iPad 3 promotion fiasco, when iPad 3s were being promoted as being ‘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. Nevertheless, in addition to 61 million 4G handsets being shipped in 2012, we estimate 26 million 4G non-handset products will be shipped. In the short-term, most of that will reflect customers purchasing USB dongles for legacy laptops and netbooks, followed by customer premise equipment, or home modem, purchases.”