Japan- and Korea-based operators have been aggressively promoting their LTE services. Their counterparts In Latin America and Europed have also been accelerating the process towards commercialization for LTE. The number of LTE users worldwide surpassed 200 million in 2013, up 130 million from 2012. Digitimes Research expects the number of users to reach 335 million in 2014 as US-based Sprint and T-mobile USA are both expanding their LTE networks, while China has recently started operating its enterprise TD-LTE network.
In 2013, the number of enterprise LTE networks worldwide reached 260. Among them, the number of enterprise TD-LTE network doubled from the previous year. However, TD/FD-LTE dual-mode networks' proportion in overall TD-LTE network dropped 30pp from the previous year, according to figures from Global Mobile Supplier Association (GSA). The trend shows that demand for multi-mode networks is still rather weak, according to Digitimes Research's analysis.
In the end market, there were a total of 1,371 device models supporting LTE in 2013, a growth of 106% on year. Of these devices, smartphones continued to see significant growth, while data-processing applications such as dougle, MiFi and customer premise equipment (CPE) saw declines.
Taiwan's LTE data-processing product shipments were about four million units in 2013 and are expected to reach six million units in 2014 despite the volume in the first half of 2014 failing to achieve strong growth. CPE will stay the main shipment contributor of Taiwan players. Since LTE-based smart mobile device's growing demand is impacting dongle and MiFi sales, some Taiwan players have shifted their capacities to manufacturing LTE modules for mobile devices.
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