Apple, Nokia, RIM and Sony Ericsson are expected to join the “LTE club” in 2012 as more telecom service providers around the globe are also going to launch LTE services in the coming year, reports “DigiTimes” (, quoting unnamed “industry sources in Taiwan.”

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a wireless broadband technology designed to support roaming Internet access via cell phones and handheld devices. Since LTE offers improvements over older cellular communication standards, some refer to it as a 4G (fourth generation) technology along with WiMax.

A total of 35 LTE networks globally have already entered commercial operations, with the number of such networks to exceeding 100 prior to the end of 2012, according to data released by GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association). By 2015, the number of LTE service subscribers will reach 290 million and annual sales of LTE-enabled smartphones will surpass 154 million units, estimated market research firm In-Stat