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Analyst: Not all gloom for mobile handsets

Posted: 13 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile market handset? W-CDMA CDMA2000? phone smart?

The global mobile handset market went into a tailspin in October and November 2008, which will result in a nearly 5 percent year-on-year decline in unit shipments in Q4. While 2009 is likely to see a more stormy economic weather, there are a few rays of sunshine.

"The number of W-CDMA and CDMA2000 mobile handsets sold (currently 39 percent of the total) is expected to exceed 50 percent in 2009," said Jake Saunders, ABI Research Asia-Pacific vice president. "Much of the brunt of the economic downturn will be experienced in the 2G categories. W-CDMA handset shipments are projected to grow from 258 million in 2008 to 725 million in 2009. By 2013, more than 67 percent of all handsets shipped will be 3G/3G+ capable."

Prosumer piece
"Another robust segment is smart phones," said practice director Kevin Burden. "Smart phones captured 14 percent of the 2008 market and are expected to grow throughout the challenging period of 2009 and comprise 31 percent of the market by 2013." Smart phones are among the most coveted pieces of "prosumer" (professional consumer) electronics.

Cellular modems will also be a high-growth sector in 2009, driven largely by USB modems, which will account for 80 percent of the shipment volume. Market volume is expected to increase by more than 55 percent in the coming year as Asian vendors push forward with low-priced modems.

Operators continue to be creative with broadband plans to entice new users, offering options such as a free month with a modem purchase, as well as daily and weekend plans and per MB fees. "For as long as operators aggressively price and promote mobile broadband plans, cellular modems will continue to be a hot category with considerable potential in SOHO and SMB segments," Burden concluded.

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