4G Captures One-Third of Q4 2011 Smartphone Sales

According to a new research finding by NPD, 33 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2011 had 4G connectivity. 4G connectivity is broadly defined to include devices with either WiMax, HSPA+ or LTE connectivity, the latter of which offers the fastest real-world data performance currently. This number compares favorably to only 6 percent of smartphone sales in Q4 2010 that included the faster mobile broadband connectivity support.

HSPA+ captured the most market share of the 4G devices and accounted for 22 percent of U.S. smartphone sales. The technology is backed by AT&T and T-Mobile USA. AT&T has begun the transition to LTE and T-Mobile has announced plans for LTE support in the future. AT&T’s iPhone 4S, which supports theoretical download speeds of 14.4 Mbps can be considered a 4G HSPA+ device. The iPhone 4S is the leading 4G smartphone utilizing HSPA+ technology.

Verizon’s LTE smartphone sales accounted for 7 percent of the market, up from the 5-6 percent that was speculated before. The leading 4G LTE smartphone is the HTC Thunderbolt, which was the debut 4G LTE smartphone for Verizon’s LTE network.

Sprint’s WiMax saw a decline in adoption. As the first U.S. carrier to launch with a 4G network, Sprint debuted the EVO 4G to great success. The WiMax carrier had peaked at 11% of smartphone sales with 4G on board in Q3 2011 and fell to 6% in Q4. In fact, despite its age, the EVO 4G is still the top selling 4G smartphone for Sprint in 2011.

We’ll see 4G adoption continue to increase in 2012. Verizon Wireless has gone on record to announce that all smartphones sold in the future will be 4G LTE-enabled.

It’s interesting to see, with the exception of the iPhone 4S, how the first device to launch on WiMax and LTE are still leading smartphone sales for those respective technologies.

Via: Phone Arena

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