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NPD: 4G Hits 35% Smartphone Share

3/13/2012 04:23:57 PM Eastern

Port Washington,
N.Y. - The share of smartphones sold with 4G technology grew to 35 percent in
the fourth quarter of 2011, up from only 6 percent in the year-ago quarter, an
NPD Group consumer survey found.

The 4G
technologies include Mobile WiMAX, LTE and HSPA+.

Survey respondents
include U.S. consumers ages 18 and older who purchased a mobile phone or
smartphone. The statistics exclude corporate/enterprise purchases.

The 4G technology
with the most smartphone share was HSPA+ with a 22 percent share in the fourth
quarter. That technology got a boost because in the quarter because it was the
only 4G technology available in the iPhone 4S, said Ross Rubin, executive
director of  Connected Intelligence for
The NPD Group.

HSPA+ is offered
by AT&T and T-Mobile.

One year after
Verizon's LTE launch, LTE handsets accounted for 7 percent of the smartphone
market, but LTE's share will go higher now that AT&T is rolling out LTE and
T-Mobile and Sprint plans to migrate to LTE, the company said.

The percentage of
smartphones supporting Sprint's WiMax technology, launched in the summer of
2009, ended the year at 6 percent, down from a high of 10 percent in the third
quarter, NPD said.

NPD also
determined the best-selling handsets for each 4G technology. They were the HTC
Thunderbolt for LTE smartphones, the HTC EVO for WiMax smartphones, and the
iPhone 4S for HSPA+ smartphones.