Shipments of 4G LTE smartphones will triple next year, research firm Strategy Analytics predicts.
The research firm sees shipments rising to 275 million next year from this year's 91 million, a rise of 203 percent resulting in a record year for LTE phone vendors. Companies that stand to benefit the most include Apple, Samsung, and LG, with the iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S3 among the most popular handsets.
But other vendors will participate in the LTE push, such as Nokia, HTC, Motorola, Blackberry, Huawei, ZTE, and Pantech. Growth in LTE smartphones will be driven by demand in such countries as the U.S., the U.K., Japan, China, and South Korea.
"It is clear that 2013 will be the year of 4G. LTE smartphone shipments worldwide will exceed a quarter-billion units for the first time," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "Multiple operators and multiple phone vendors will be launching dozens of LTE models across numerous countries worldwide. LTE has quickly become a high-growth, high-value market that no operator, service developer, component maker, or device vendor can afford to ignore."
Other companies may try to slice off a piece of the LTE pie, the firm wrote, including Amazon and Mozilla. But they may face a rough time getting traction.
"We caution possible new entrants like Amazon will not find it easy to break into the fiercely competitive LTE smartphone market and they will need breakthrough products that are strongly differentiated in areas such as design, price, or services," Strategy Analytics analyst Linda Sui said in a statement.