Originally published: March 23, 2012
Last updated: April 5, 2012 - 12:35am
This year will be a breakout for LTE as sales of the 4G phones are expected to increase ten times over sales in 2011. The estimate, from research firm Strategy Analytics, notes that 2011 only saw 6.8 million sales of LTE smartphones, with tablets and hotspots adding another 5.5 million subscribers.
In 2012, expect 67 million LTE handset sales around the world. The uptake shouldn’t surprise as LTE is the hottest mobile broadband tech around, but it raises consumer-focused questions as we transition to new networks: where is the savings from the more efficient networks?
Tofel suggests consumers are heavily subsidizing the 3G to 4G transition. Carriers have accurately said it costs them less to deliver a megabyte of data over LTE than it does over the older 3G networks. And yet, the costs of an LTE data plan are no different than a 3G data plan. Do you want 5 GB of data per month for your 4G tablet? No problem, that’s $50 from Verizon; the same as if you had a 3G tablet. Need 3 GB of data for your AT&T smartphone? That’s $30 regardless of whether your phone has 3G or 4G.
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