Samsung looks to LTE-Advanced to continue smartphone growth

Not only does the world largest phone maker see plenty of handset growth left in the developed world, it also wants to become the world's most beloved mobile company.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Samsung expects the rollout of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) networks across the developed world to drive handset sales in markets that already have a high level of smartphone penetration.

"The expansion of new LTE services, including LTE Advanced, will be the key growth driver," said Jong-Kyun Shin, president and CEO of Samsung IT & Mobile Communication at an analyst event in Seoul on Wednesday. "Until 2017, we expect an annual average growth of near 30 percent in the LTE smartphone market, reaching 680 million units."

Shin said that come 2017, half of all phones sold will be LTE phones.

The company released an LTE-Advanced version of its Galaxy S4 device in June to run on SK Telecom's LTE-A network.

Currently, the LTE-A network offered by the South Korean telco is capable of 150Mbps downloads, due to the aggregation of two 10MHz component carriers. By 2015, the company intends to offer 300Mbps download speeds.

Samsung will release LTE-A devices next year in the US, Japan, and Europe.

On a global level, Samsung expects emerging markets to provide much of the growth in volume for smartphone sales.

"We estimate that more than 3 billion people are currently using feature phones. So there is still huge demand to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones, and this will be a major market growth driver for the upcoming years," Shin said.

"In the future, we expect emerging markets will drive smartphone volume growth. That is already happening, China and India are the first- and third-largest smartphone markets."

Shin outlined a process by which Samsung intends to get become one of the world's "leading aspirational brands".

"First, we will solidify our position as number one in smartphones; second, we will become number one in tablets; lastly, we will create new business," he said.

"We are committed to doing our best to become the most beloved company in mobile through our innovation and commitment."

October was a month unlikely to see Samsung reach its goal of becoming the "most beloved company in mobile", as a number of issues arose.

The company was caught out falsifying benchmark scores for its Note 3 device; it was fined NT$10 million ($340,000) in Taiwan for conducting a smear campaign against its rival HTC; and the company apologised to customers in China for glitches in its devices, and refunded customers that it had earlier charged to repair their phones, following a TV program on state-owned media criticising Samsung's repair policies.

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