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HTC to gain more ground in LTE phone market: analyst

TAIPEI -- Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. will gain more ground in its competition with South Korean rivals for 4G high-speed phone market share, a Taipei-based analyst predicted yesterday, citing rising demand in Asian and European countries.

Herbert Ho, analyst at the Topology Research Institute (TRI), said vendors of smartphones running on the LTE, or the long-term evolution network, remained limited in 2011 because the infrastructure started only in a few regions, such as the United States and South Korea.

Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea took a combined market share of 61 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, but HTC and two other Chinese brands appear to be playing bigger roles in the emerging phone segment.

“HTC, Huawei Technology Co., and ZTE Corp. are expected to take a bigger share of the pie from these South Korean vendors as they address the business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific and European markets,” Ho said at a local forum.

“The TD-LTE phones, powered by the home-grown LTE technology in China, will also enter the market in 2012, giving a boost to Chinese mobile phone makers,” he added.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Samsung was the largest LTE-enabled Android phone maker with a 41 percent market share, followed by 20 percent of LG and 17 percent of HTC.

Ho forecast that HTC's market share will rise to 21-22 percent in 2012, while Samsung will drop to 38 percent and LG will maintain a 20 percent share.

Further, China's Huawei and ZTE will each account for about 4 percent to 5 percent of the LTE market this year as they launched new LTE models at the Mobile World Congress in Spain recently.

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