"As the region's mobile industry has shifted from being voice-centric to data-centric, demand for data services and the anticipated traffic volume will make LTE the foundation of operators' future business," says Daniel Yu, Associate Manager at Pyramid Research. Once the region dethrones North America, its title will be unchallenged thanks to the massive markets like China and India that combine to represent close to 40 percent of the world's population. One of the most critical elements in driving LTE penetration is the availability and affordability of devices, and for this very reason several operators, such as China Mobile HK, Korea Telecom, 3 and PCCW, delayed their launches until a handful of LTE-enabled smartphones, rather than just data cards, became available. "However, the LTE handsets on the market today are priced out of range for emerging markets, and the prices must fall below $100 before exponential growth is seen in LTE subscriptions," he adds.
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