Apple may have only released its first LTE phone in September, but already the US firm has grabbed 26.7 percent of the global LTE device market, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics, (via The Yonhap).

Despite Apple’s strong debut, Samsung remains top of the pile for LTE devices for the seventh quarter in succession. However its rival’s entry had a significant impact on its market share, which dropped to 40 percent in the third quarter, down from 50.9 percent three months previous.

LTE has become a real hot point for consumers worldwide, although the US, Japan and Korea are currently the markets where the 4G technology is the most advanced. Strategy Analytics estimates that this boom — powered in a major way by the release of the LTE-compatible iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 — will see global subscriptions reach 50 million, that’s a huge increase on the 9 million subscriptions it estimated were active at the end of 2011.

Outside of Apple and Samsung, Korean handset makers dominate rest of the pack, although most saw their market share drop in response to Apple’s success. At the end of the third quarter, LG — which recently released the Optimus G LTE device — held a 9.1 percent market share — down from 15 percent — while fellow Korean company Pantech hit 5.8 percent, notching a minor 0.1 percent increase.

Google-owned Motorola, which announced plans to withdraw from South Korea yesterday and has shuttered a number of its international websites, saw its share of devices fall from 15 percent to 6.7 percent.

Strategy Analytics’ estimate of 50 million global LTE subscriptions is corroborated by a prior report from Korea’s Parks Associates which came up with the same figure after crunching the numbers in July.

Earlier this year ABI Research predicted that worldwide shipments of 4G-compatible smartphones and tablets would reach 61 million this year. Like Parks, the analyst firm revealed it is seeing differing levels of interest from customers across the globe, with Asia identified as a particularly hot spot.

Image via Brett L. / Flickr