Wireless Device Strategies

First to market each quarter with the most accurate and detailed data on handset strategies. The industry’s most timely, consistent and accurate tracking of device vendor KPI metrics, as well as handset market sales and shipment forecasts.

October 30, 2012 14:30 nmawston

Mobile phones and smartphones are manufactured today in dozens of countries worldwide. Hundreds of vendors, like Samsung and others, produce billions of handsets, making it a complex but lucrative industry. This pubished report quantifies the global market for handset manufacturing by country. It shows which countries build the most handsets (e.g. Brazil). The report, which can be viewed by clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service here, is a valuable tool for component makers, device vendors and other stakeholders who want to identify the world's most important regions for phone production.

October 30, 2012 14:26 nmawston

Samsung became only the second-ever mobile phone vendor to ship over 100 million handsets in a single quarter, with 103 million units shipped worldwide in Q3 2012, rising at above-average 15% annually. Its handset revenues surged to record levels thanks to increased volume and improved ASP. However, its feature phone presence is moderating. The Korean giant needs to address this, especially given Nokia's resurgent performance in feature phone market. More analysis of Samsung can ve viewed by clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service here.

October 30, 2012 14:04 nmawston

Google this week launched another flagship smartphone, the Nexus 4, in the United States and elsewhere. It is made by LG, comes with Android Jellybean 4.2 OS, runs a quadcore 1.5GHz processor, and sports an iPhone-beating 4.7-inch display.

However, the Nexus 4 only employs an HSPA+ (3.9G) radio. It does not contain LTE (4G) technology. Google indicates this is because LTE is not widely deployed by operators, certification for 4G is tough right now, and LTE consumes a lot of battery power. Those reasons are partly true, but they are not the complete picture. In reality, LTE phones are vastly outshipping HSPA+ phones, in terms of growth, by a factor of 5 to 1 worldwide. HSPA+ is yesterday's tech, while LTE is the next big thing. Not having 4G inside the flagship Nexus 4 is a key weakness for Google.

More analysis of LTE and HSPA+ phone sales by 88 countries worldwide can be viewed by clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service here.



October 23, 2012 07:49 nmawston

Everything Everywhere, a JV between Orange and T Mobile, rebranded EE, has formally announced that it will launch the UK's first commercial LTE network on Tuesday 30th October, 2012. This is a coup for EE as they are roughly 6 months ahead of all their major UK rivals, including Vodafone, O2 and Three. With the EE launch the UK has instantly become one of the most dynamic 4G markets in Western Europe. However, our Country Share Tracker (CST) service notes that the UK remains a long way behind in an international context. The UK is roughly 2 years behind the US, and at least 1 year behind South Korea, Japan and Canada.

4GEE will be launching initially with 5 brands, 7 LTE phones, 1 dongle, and 1 pocket WiFi device. Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Huawei will all have products on offer. Subsidies from EE will be high. There will be plenty of subsidized devices available to try to tempt businesses and rich consumers away from Vodafone, O2 and Three. For example, EE thinks some early tech adopters at rival carriers will be willing to tether their existing 3G phones to Huawei's new E589 4G pocket WiFi device.

We estimate EE's data-plan pricing for 4G connectivity is on average around 10% higher than an equivalent 3G plan. We briefly trialed the 4GEE network in Central London yesterday and found it to be fast but a little patchy, while latency on YouTube videos was barely different from an HSPA connection. The 10% pricing premium is justified, but only just.

How big is the UK LTE phone market? It will soon be the biggest in Western Europe. We forecast UK 4G phone sales to surge +900% in 2013. More LTE forecasts and analysis, for the UK and 87 other countries worldwide, can be viewed by clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service here.

October 18, 2012 11:39 nmawston

Nokia reported today its financial results for Q3 2012, on Thursday 18th October, 2012.

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service shares the following "first take" on the results for its devices unit:

1. Overall handset shipments of 83 million units are exactly in line with our forecasts;

2. Feature phone volumes look relatively healthy, confirming an ongoing trend;

3. Smartphone shipments were at the bottom end of expectations. Symbian has shrunk further. Windows Phone has not yet picked up the slack;

4. Another financial loss was registered. Although, this was in line with expectations;

5. US and China remain problem-children for Nokia.

Conclusion: It is a mixed picture for Nokia. The company is not yet out of the woods.

More analysis of Nokia and other vendors can be viewed by clients here.

October 17, 2012 16:02 nmawston

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, the number of smartphones in use worldwide surpassed the 1 billion-unit mark for the first time ever in the third quarter of 2012. It has taken 16 years for the smartphone industry to reach this historic milestone.

The world’s first modern smartphone, the Nokia Communicator, was introduced in 1996. Nokia remained a dominant force in smartphones for over a decade until the arrival of Apple’s iconic iPhone in 2007. The iPhone revolutionized smartphone design and it catalyzed industry growth. By the third quarter of 2011, we estimate there were 708 million smartphones in use worldwide. After a further year of soaring demand, the number of smartphones in use worldwide reached 1.038 billion units during the third quarter of 2012.

We estimate 1 in 7 of the world’s population owned a smartphone in the third quarter of 2012. Smartphone penetration is still relatively low. Most of the world does not yet own a smartphone and there remains huge scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa. The first billion smartphones in use worldwide took 16 years to reach, but we forecast the next billion to be achieved in less than three years, by 2015.


October 17, 2012 15:51 nmawston

Nokia reports its financial results for Q3 2012 on Thursday 18th October, 2012. What will the mobile industry be looking out for? According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, there will be at least three main questions for the devices unit:

1. Has the feature phone division continued to regrow and recover? How is Asha doing?

2. Is the company's average selling price (ASP) for a cellphone rising or falling due to the ratio of Windows Phones?

3. How is the influential US market performing?

October 17, 2012 15:35 nmawston

Total global handset sales will reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Consumers have a wide variety of handset-types available for purchase. Postpaid users are upgrading to phablets and superphones, while prepaid consumers are upgrading to feature phones and smartphones. The phablet segment looks promising as a high-growth market, which we forecast to expand an impressive +88% in 2013, bolstered by models like Samsung's Galaxy Note. More details for our phablet forecasts by region can be downloaded by clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) servce here.

October 11, 2012 18:09 Neil Shah

Sprint, USA's third largest carrier confirmed today its in advance talks with Softbank regarding a potential substantial investment by Softbank in Sprint. This particular investment would mean Softbank could gain major control over Sprint in USA.



But there are some key questions this would raise from devices perspective : What does this mean to the handset OEMs? How will this development affect the handset portfolio at Sprint?

Sprint has been the third largest handset supplier/seller in USA according to out latest Handset Country Share Tracker research. More than half of the handset sales is dominated by Apple and Samsung at this moment, however, Sprint has a history of embracing Taiwanese (e.g. HTC) and Japanese (e.g. Kyocera, Sanyo) OEMs granting a generous shelf-space. Sprint is the only US carrier where Japanese OEMs command more than 10% sales share. If Softbank's investment in Sprint goes through then we could see this share to possibly increase further and remark the entry of Softbank's current various Japanese OEM partners such as Panasonic, Sharp and Fujitsu in this important high-value US market. Thus, this is certainly good news for Japanese OEMs which have struggled in past to successfully expand beyond Japanese shores.

October 11, 2012 15:35 Neil Shah

Global handset sales will reach 1.6 billion units in 2012, and consumers will have a wide variety of handset types available for purchase.

Bigger screen size complemented with powerful processors and high-speed 3G/4G and beyond network capabilities have made these superphones and tablets high demand devices for content consumption (iPhone) and slowly shifting towards creation (Galaxy Note).

Thus, postpaid or mature mobile phone users are upgrading to phablets, superphones, and smartphones, while prepaid consumers are upgrading to feature phones and smaller sized / mass-market smartphones. The phablet and superphone are high ASP, high profit smartphone sub-segments which look especially promising as a super-high-growth market, which we forecast to expand over 300% between 2012 and 2017, bolstered by the recent addition of Apple iOS devices to a long list of Android- and Windows Phone-powered superphones.

The report below forecasts global handset sales by type from 2003 to 2017, and it identifies which categories will grow at above-average rates during the next five years. Types of devices covered include phablets, superphones, smartphones, smart feature phones, standard feature phones and basic phones.

Handset Sales Forecast by Type: Phablet, Superphone, Smartphone, Feature Phone & Basic Phone


Superphones & Tablets