7 in 10 to be LTE users in South Korea by 2013

Smartphone users who subscribe to the long-term evolution (LTE) network could top 42 million next year, due to surge in new devices and ramped up marketing campaigns.

The number of South Korea smartphone users on LTE could hit 42 million next year, making up 73 percent of all mobile phone users.

According to a study by ROA Consulting on Tuesday, this will be driven by a surge in new devices and ramped up marketing campaigns, and help LTE surpass 3G numbers in 2013.

This represents a significant jump from the latest estimates of around 8.25 million LTE subscribers as of Jul. 2012, the consulting firm said, adding that it forecasts the number to hit 16 million by year-end.

ROA noted that LTE is expected to surpass 3G smartphone in 2013, and help rapidly drive Voice over Internet Protocol, instant messanging, file sharing, Web browsing and video-streaming.

"The 3rd parties rather than mobile carriers will lead the trend, weakening the positions of the mobile carriers in the market," said the firm in the report.

This has seen the three local telcos moving into other services such as mobile games leveraging LTE to find new business growth.