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LTE smartphones are becoming faster and cheaper

Mikael Ricknäs | May 21, 2015
Speedy connections in high-end smartphones won't work without matching network coverage; cheaper phones may encourage carriers to invest.

On Monday, chip maker Marvell boasted that a SoC (system-on-chip) it developed is powering a $65 LTE smartphone from Chinese manufacturer XiaoLaJiao. In addition to LTE, the HongLaJiao phone has a quad-core processor, a 5-inch HD screen and an 8-megapixel camera. That you can buy a whole LTE smartphone for less than it costs to upgrade the storage on an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S is quite extraordinary.

In the U.S. and Europe, there isn't the range of sub-$200 smartphones with LTE that consumers in China and India can choose between. But products like the Motorola Moto E still offer good value for money, even though the specs aren't keeping up with new models from the likes of Xiaomi and Micromax.

These smartphones illustrate two closely related developments: the newfound affordability of LTE and the increasing competition between chip makers, which bodes well for the future. Today users pay a premium for LTE, but by next year that will likely be a thing of the past.

 

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