The number of connected LTE or 4G mobile devices is set to explode from about 1 million this year, to 17 million services in operation by the end of 2016, according to analyst firm, Telsyte.

The Telsyte Australian Mobile Services Market Study 2012-2016 analyses and forecasts movement in the mobile services market.

It estimates about 46 per cent of total mobile connections will be 4G by mid-2016 and in some cases, will provide an alternative solution to fixed-line broadband.

Telsyte research director, Foad Fadaghi, said the forecast for 4G adoption was revised due to the significant number of changes in the market this year.

"Our latest research indicates a combination of new handsets, strong carrier deployment of 4G services, and mobile broadband as an alternative to fixed-line services is resulting in faster than initially expected uptake of 4G services in Australia," Fadaghi said.

The rate of uptake is highly dependent on the availability of 4G devices and the popularity of the iPhone 5 and other 4G smartphones and tablet devices from HTC, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. Fadaghi estimates more than 20 LTE-enabled devices will be available through carriers this year. By the end of 2016, more than 80 per cent of smartphones sold will be capable of using Australia's 4G networks.

While the 1800MHz band is emerging as one of the common LTE bands globally, the auction outcome of 700MHz and 2500/2600MHz spectrum will still affect the future of LTE in Australia, Telsyte analyst, Alvin Lee, said.

"These bands are supported across the globe in different countries, and are likely candidates to mitigate future LTE roaming challenges," Lee said. According to the analyst firm, video clips, radio and music were the most popular applications on mobile devices It also signaled a rising interest in maps and navigation applications thanks to the popularity of smartphones. Research also indicated more than 30 per cent of Australian smartphone users were regularly using over the top (OTT) voice or video call applications, and it will continue to rise in the coming years. "Some applications require a fast and stable data connection to provide users a more complete experience. With typical LTE speeds of 40Mbps a lot of opportunities will be created for data hungry applications like streaming media services, turn-by-turn navigation and video applications," Lee said.

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