A migration trend is emerging among wireless users toward feature rich devices that incorporate color screens and advanced data and messaging applications, including navigation, multimedia messaging (MMS), and instant messaging, among others.
The primary catalysts of this trend are a combination of factors. For one, wireless handset penetration continues to grow, moving the market from one characterized by initial penetration to that of replacement with next generation devices. Secondly, wireless operators are under increased pressure to drive higher average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) and are doing so by adding data services and "infotainment" content available to newer technology handsets.
"With handset makers and wireless operators developing new devices and compelling services, the replacement cycle will shorten, accelerating growth in the handset," states Kenil Vora, an analyst with ABI. "Key to maintaining this growth is the successful deployment - and timing - of feature-rich devices and related services."
Inside The Numbers
According to a new study by Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) the number of replacement handsets shipped will grow from 211 million in 2002 to 591 million units in 2008, representing nearly 85% of all shipments worldwide at that time.
The study, "Wireless Handsets, Smartphones and Communicators -- The Convergence Of The Cell Phone & PDA And The Emerging 3G Network" also indicates that, of the estimated 406 million handsets shipped in 2002, only about 15% incorporated color displays. This number is expected to jump to 97% by 2008.
The new study by ABI outlines the evolution of the handset to a multimedia and data-centric platform and the progression to the 2.5G and 3G network. The study provides a thorough examination of trends in the global market for wireless handsets and offers a realistic outlook on where the industry is headed. The report covers six global regions and the demand within them. The report also includes market forecasts for wireless subscribers, handset shipments, Bluetooth penetration and Java capability through 2008. Where applicable, forecasts are further segmented by cellular technology platforms.
Allied Business Intelligence Inc. is an Oyster Bay, NY-based technology research think tank founded in 1990. ABI publishes research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries. Details can be found on the web at alliedworld.com or by calling 516-624-3113.