Tommy Ljunggren is senior vice president of Swedish wireless operator TeliaSonera and he’s got some “nice” words about mobile prospects of his valued partner, Apple. Ljunggren told Telecoms.com that Apple is no longer as relevant a factor in mobile as it used to be, saying the company is set for failure unless the next iPhone adopts chips that support fourth-generation cellular networks based on Long Term Evolution radio technology, being deployed by carriers around the world:

If you asked me two years ago I would have said Apple would be very important. But now it will be a bad mistake not to include LTE in the iPhone 5 as otherwise they will really be run over by the others. Apple are not unique enough and there is disappointment over the 4S – it was too small step for them.

He then slammed Apple over LTE, admitting that the current batch of 4G LTE chips consume too much power:

I don’t think Apple will decide if LTE will fly or not. My expectation is that in 2013/14 we will really see low-end smartphones having LTE as well. The big question is what frequency bands they will put in for smartphones. They will be true LTE smartphones – not the ones that the US has right now with two radios. These drain the batteries flat very quickly as they have one LTE terminal for data and a CDMA voice terminal. It’s basically a dongle and phone that they glue together. They work – just not for long.

Interestingly, this is the very reason Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed a 4G LTE iPhone. Ljunggren, of course, is confused and here’s why.

Apple has risen from zero handsets sold back in 2007 to becoming the leading smartphone maker in the world. The company now controls up to two-thirds of the industry’s profits even though it only has five percent global market share in total handsets sold. Looking at the big picture, Apple’s iPad leads the tablet space with about 70 percent global market share for tablet PCs. And per latest data for the September quarter, Apple so far has sold 250 million iOS devices (iPhones, iPads and iPod touches) which now account for the vast majority of Apple’s fortunes. Its App Store has half a billion apps that have been downloaded 18 billion times and about 150,000 programs are created specifically for the iPad.

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