Verizon Wireless 4G LTEThe technical definition of 4G is complex, and is made even more so by how it’s marketed. However, consumers are quickly adopting the technology and carriers in the U.S. — such as Verizon and AT&T — are rolling out aggressive LTE plans as the new era in wireless data technology takes off. With this in mind, research firm Strategy Analytics believes that 2012 will be a “breakout year for 4G technology.” In fact, the company is so certain of this fact that it claims global LTE phone shipments will grow to 67 million units by year’s end. By comparison, in worldwide LTE smartphone shipments only topped out at 6.8 million in 2011.

Strategy Analytics sees LTE growth in countries such as the U.S., Japan and South Korea as the determining factor behind the 67 million figure. The firm also said vendors such as Apple, Samsung and HTC will lead the push.

“The mobile industry is entering a breakout year for 4G LTE technology. Multiple operators and multiple phone vendors will be launching dozens of LTE models across numerous countries worldwide,” said Neil Mawston, executive Director at Strategy Analytics. “LTE has quickly become a high-growth, high-value market that no operator, service developer, device vendor or component maker can afford to ignore.”

Verizon said it hopes to have LTE technology in over 400 markets by the year’s end and AT&T is rapidly expanding its network, too.

[via Strategy Analytics]