Korea is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most advanced markets for nascent 4G mobile technology LTE, and further proof of that comes via LG, after the Korean handset maker revealed that sales of its LTE devices have now passed 5 million globally.

We’re seeing LTE networks and new device launches ramp up worldwide, and LG says that its sales are accelerating too, to the point that it sold 1 million compatible phones during July alone.

The company puts its success down to its wide range of devices, while its LTE know-how (its LTE patent hoard is independently valued at $8 billion) is equally crucial, the company says.

The Optimus LTE is its most popular device, having racked up more than 2 million in sales, while the Optimus Vu has sold 500,000 since March, that’s before it has rolled out internationally. The company also touts the Optimus LTE II, which it says is its fastest seller having hit 500,000 sales in its first 70 days.

The company isn’t just locking its sights on the domestic market in Korea, and LG claims to offer more than ten of its LTE smartphones in countries where supported networks are live. Those markets include the US, Japan and select parts of Europe and Asia.

An ABI Research report estimated that the worldwide shipments of 4G smartphones and tablets would 61 million this year, while data from Parks Associates predicts that LTE device subscriptions will reach 50 million during that period.

Asia is very much a driving force at this stage, and both reports emphasise that the continent — and Japan and Korea in particular — is a key market for early LTE subscriber growth and sales.

Like Korea, the 4G technology is seeing impressive uptake in Japan where DoCoMo’s Xi service has passed 4 million users. Notably, the last million was added in six weeks, demonstrating a similar surge.

Despite LG’s claims, the Samsung Galaxy S III LTE is arguably the highest profile LTE phone. The exact number of LG-flavoured phones is unknown but, in Korea, the device has already surged ahead of the competition after being upgraded with support for SK Telecom’s voice over LTE (VoLTE), a technology that provides enhance call quality over an all IP-based network.

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