The mobile industry is expected to start shipping 246 million 4G-enabled Smartphones annually by 2016 according to new research released today by ABI Research. If that number is correct it would be a huge gain over 2010 4G numbers which equaled just 4.6 million units.
ABI notes that while tablets and other mobile gadgets have begun adapting to 4G technology it’s likely that Smartphones will continue to dominate the market for the foreseeable future.
The company also predicts that LTE technology will outshine WiMax based Smartphones in 2011 while growing at a compound annual growth rate of 72 percent over the next five years.
According to their report most of the world’s mobile operators now support LTE even though it costs more on a component basis. Carriers are citing a better alignment for spectrum space as their main reason for choosing LTE over WiMax
Kevin Burden, ABI’s vice president and practice director of mobile networks, said in a statement:
“Mobile operators prefer to support LTE over WiMAX since it makes the most sense strategically to put their weight behind the technology that is best suited to maintaining the status quo among wireless network incumbents.”
In order for 4G and specifically LTE technology to move forward however some issues still need to be addressed, for example the technology is still considered a “battery drain” on devices that use the technology, that is the main reason Apple didn’t jump on the 4G bandwagon with their Apple iPhone 4 and Apple iPhone 4S devices.
In the meantime 4G continues to be the “hot topic” for wireless carriers which explains why such a dramatic increase in sales is expected to occur over the next five years as more devices offer the technology alongside GPRS, Edge, 3G and 3.5G technologies.