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The LTE Device Ecosystem: 2011-2012 Market Outlook
What will Long Term Evolution (LTE) user devices look like? Other than perhaps slightly larger, richer displays, they won't look much different from 3G devices. For device vendors and their component suppliers, the big differences are under the hood. So are plenty of problems and opportunities.

Take spectrum: Like GSM, LTE is designed to be a global standard, with at least one network in virtually every country. The catch is that unlike GSM, LTE will be available in far more bands. A GSM "world phone" typically supports at most four bands: 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz. LTE is much more fragmented, so LTE devices will have to support far more bands to support global or even regional roaming.

But for device vendors and their suppliers, this challenge also is a market-differentiation opportunity. And in the case of dongle-style LTE modems, support for a wide variety of bands is one of the few ways other than price and performance that these products can stand out from the pack in the eyes of carriers and end users.

LTE is a major market opportunity by any measure, because most GSM and many CDMA operators are planning to take that migration path to 4G. The GSM family of technologies has roughly 90 percent of the global wireless market, and with the addition of the defecting CDMA operators, LTE will eventually become as dominant as GSM. Add in the possibility, if not likelihood, of some WiMax operators defecting to LTE, and the market becomes even larger.

The catch is that this opportunity is easy for vendors to capture because the expectations and requirements are so high. For example, end users expect LTE to deliver data rates that are noticeably higher than 3G, especially if they are paying a premium for service. And some carriers are already requiring devices that support a dozen bands for LTE and other technologies.

The LTE Device Ecosystem: 2011-2012 Market Outlook identifies and analyzes key issues that will affect the global LTE device market through the end of 2012. It also discusses carrier and vendor strategies for LTE devices, including options for reducing their cost and complexity to the point that they can be successful in price-sensitive applications and markets.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei1110_2_toc.pdf)
In 2011, the industry will ship at most between 500,000 and 1 million LTE devices. In 2012, volumes could hit 10 million worldwide. The final tallies depend on at least two factors. The first, obvious one is how quickly and how many carriers launch LTE services. The second factor is the recession, which affects not just how many people are willing and able to buy LTE devices, but also how quickly fabs and other component manufacturers are able to ramp up production to meet demand. The recession-imposed cutbacks of 2009 have created parts shortages that have plagued recent, high-profile 3G and WiMax devices.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Total pages: 14
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