ABI Says Record Number of 4G Devices to Ship in 2012

According to the latest published insights and projections from ABI Research, 4G subscriber adoption is poised to “take off” in 2012 as a range of 4G-enabled mobile devices will consume the masses.

From USB dongles, smartphones, tablets, 4G portable hotspots, and wireless broadband CPE modems, retail stores will soon be teeming with more 4G devices than ever.

“4G devices are expected to generate 87 million in unit sales in 2012, up 294% year-on-year,” says Jake Saunders, ABI’s vice president of forecasting.

“The lion’s share of the market is now backing LTE as service provider and vendor support has fallen away from WiMAX,” he says.

Observing the success of 3G cellular services, it is clear there is a natural evolutionary demand from end-users, both business and consumer, to jump onto the 4G data bandwagon. However, there are still some teething issues that will need to be worked through.

“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,” adds Philip Solis, ABI’s research director for mobile devices. “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.”