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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, Apple’s iPhone 5 overtook Samsung’s Galaxy S3 to become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Apple’s iPhone 5 smartphone model shipped an estimated 27.4 million units worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012. Apple also shipped an estimated 17.4 million iPhone 4S units for 8 percent smartphone share globally in Q4 2012. Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S are currently the world’s two most popular smartphone models. In the previous quarter (Q3 2012), the Samsung S3 was the most popular smartphone model.

Apple shipped 47.8 million smartphones worldwide for 22 percent marketshare in Q4 2012, while 152.1 million Android smartphones were shipped globally in Q4 2012, for a 70% world-wide share of smartphones.

A total of 700 million smartphones were shipped world-wide in 2012. Combined, Android and Apple iOS together accounted for a record 92 percent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide.

Samsung and Apple are clearly the smartphone leaders, owning nearly half the smartphone market, but Huawei and ZTE are rising fast, says IDC tracker. According to IDC, vendors shipped a total of 482.5 million mobile phones in 4Q12, with 219.4 million smartphones shipped worldwide in 4Q12, representing 45.5% of all mobile phone shipments.

Huawei overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market, while passing HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor.

According to IDC the last quarter of 2012 saw a record 52.5 million tablets shipped, up over 75 percent on the same quarter last year. The fastest growing sector of the tablet market is in the 7 to 10 inch range.

Market research by IHS iSuppli is suggesting that the 7-inch tablet market doubled in 2012 and that it will double again in 2013.

China will see 4G connections surge from just 1 million in 2013 to 439.9 million in 2017, with China Mobile establishing itself as clear market leader, IHS predicted this week.

According to the research firm, the country’s biggest operator by subscribers will boast 228.8 million 4G users by 2017, representing 52% of the total. China Mobile has been busy developing its home-grown TD-LTE technology, and has set a target of deploying 200,000 TD-LTE base stations before the end of 2013. By 2017, IHS predicts it will have deployed 600,000 TD-LTE base stations, compared to 400,000 for China Telecom and 300,000 for China Unicom.

Global LTE subscribers will pass 100 million in 2013, according to IHS iSuppli, more than doubling the 2012 numbers, and hitting 198 million by the end of 2013. By 2016, LTE will claim more than 1.0 billion users, as shown in the figure above, equivalent to a five-year compound annual growth rate of 139 percent.

Data traffic doubled between the third quarter of 2011 and 2012, and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 50% between 2012 and 2018, according to Ericsson.

Half of all mobile connections will be 3G/4G by 2017 says research firm Wireless Intelligence.

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