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LG: We've shipped over 10 million phones with 4G LTE support (mostly in Korea)

LG has just announced that they've shipped over 10 million phones that have 4G LTE support. That means they've been shipping less than 750,000 units/month. Is that good or bad?
March 3, 2013

Most companies don’t publish press releases on Sunday because … let’s face it, us journalists need our rest too. But for some strange reason, LG felt compelled to drop this bombshell on us: The company has shipped over 10 million 4G LTE smartphones. Let’s put this number into some context. LG announced that they shipped 5 million 4G LTE smartphones in August 2012. That’s seven months ago. That means LG is shipping less than 715,000 4G LTE phones every 30 days. Not so impressive sounds now, is it?

You also have to remember that these are global sales figures. Which markets actually have commercially running 4G LTE networks? America is the big one, and there are a handful in Europe, but LG’s bread and butter is their home turf, South Korea. LG doesn’t say how many of these 10 million 4G LTE phones were sold in countries other than Korea, but we have a feeling that it isn’t a big number.

But let’s talk about a broader issue, 4G LTE fragmentation. The UK only now finished their 4G LTE spectrum auction, with operators buying airwaves in the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. Several European operators have decided to go with the 1800 MHz band. America’s two largest operators use the 700 MHz band, but they use two different blocks which make them incompatible.

In other words, while LG’s “achievement” isn’t really anything to write home about, in context of the world we’re living in it’s not actually so bad. Qualcomm has promised to solve the 4G LTE fragmentation issue later this year, but anyone can publish a press release saying that. We want to see actual products that can roam between continents.

What about you guys, do you own a 4G LTE phone? Do you not even care? Are the 3G networks in your country fast enough that you’ll be fine sticking it out with HSPA+ for the next few years?