Wireless Smartphone Strategies

The industry’s most comprehensive set of critical market statistics and qualitative analysis, tracking and reporting on smartphones.

January 17, 2014 19:33 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, the global Tizen smartphone installed base will be a niche proposition in 2014 / 2015. Can Samsung get the new mobile operating system off the ground in places like Japan and Western Europe? Can it avoid a "Bada 2.0" scenario?

This extensive published report, available to clients, forecasts global smartphone sales, by 14 operating systems for 88 countries worldwide, from 2007 to 2018. Almost every major country worldwide is covered, including the United States, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and others.



May 30, 2013 16:00 khyers

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone revenues will grow +37% over the next 5 years. Increasing smartphone volumes will be partly offset by decreasing price points, as vendors and operators penetrate deeper into the price-sensitive prepaid market. Falling component prices will enable sales expansion in lower price-tiers, particularly for emerging markets like Asia and Latin America. Meanwhile, Apple and others will continue to target the subsidy-led premium category. Our detailed report forecasts global smartphone sales volume, revenues and wholesale ASPs by six major regions and five price-tiers from 2003 to 2017. Extensive analysis of the premium, high, mid, entry and ultra-low price-bands is included. The published report can be downloaded by clients here.


May 30, 2013 15:39 khyers

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global mobile phone industry revenues grew +11% annually in Q1 2013. Profits increased annually due to a greater proportion of 3G and 4G models in the mix. Samsung and Apple dominate the industry and they are tightening their grip on value share, squeezing out almost all other rivals. Our new report provides quarterly global mobile phone ASPs, revenues and profit metrics for multiple major mobile phone OEMs from 2007 through 1Q 2013. Revenue share and profit share are also supplied. The published report can be downloaded by clients here.


March 28, 2013 14:37 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, smartphone sales volumes will surge +56% in Africa Middle East this year. The rate of growth in Africa is almost two times higher than the global average. Growth will be driven by first-time buyers and 2G handset upgraders in major countries such as Nigeria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. More details can be viewed by clients in this published report, which forecasts worldwide smartphone sales for 88 countries globally, including Brazil, Spain, Russia and others.


March 28, 2013 14:29 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, smartphone sales volumes will surge +69% in India this year. The rate of growth in India is two times higher than the global average. Growth will be driven by a wave of low-cost Android and Microsoft models for prepaid users from companies like Samsung, Micromax and Nokia. More details can be viewed by clients in this published report, which forecasts worldwide smartphone sales for 88 countries globally, including India, China, US and others.


February 23, 2013 21:53 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments grew +38% annually in Q4 2012, and +43% in FY 2012. Growth in the quarter was healthy but slowed a little as postpaid penetration matures. Samsung and Apple continue to dominate volumes due to their extensive retail presence. Huawei became the world's third largest smartphone player for the first time ever, highlighting the rise of Chinese brands. This published report -- available to download by clients --contains global smartphone shipments by the top 20 vendors by region by quarter from 2007 to 2012. Global smartphone shipments by vendor by operating system by quarter are also included in a pivot-table. The report is valuable for mobile stakeholders who want to size the huge market for smartphones and operating system marketshare by hardware vendor.


February 23, 2013 21:44 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments reached a record level of 700 million units in full-year 2012. While Android was once more the dominant global OS by volume, Apple reclaimed some marketshare thanks to the first full quarter of availability for the new iPhone 5. This trend was especially apparent in North America, where Android appears to have peaked, but globally Android still accounts for a significant majority of all smartphones shipped. BlackBerry and Symbian continued to see their global presence shrink, and while Microsoft experienced a boost from the launch of Windows Phone 8 in Q4, the gain was smaller than expected.

This published report, available to download by clients, contains global smartphone shipments by operating system by region by quarter from 2009 to 2012. The report is valuable for mobile stakeholders who want to size the huge market for smartphones and operating system marketshare.


February 23, 2013 21:30 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, HTC’s smartphone shipments worldwide declined by -29% annually in Q4 2012. We believe Chinese players such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo are grabbing large chunks of marketshare in China in the lower price-tiers, while the two smartphone giants Samsung and Apple achieved a lion’s share of volume and profit in the higher-tiers. As a result of the heightened competition, HTC’s global revenues were down -41% against the previous year and its gross profit fell by -92% annually. This published report gives more details for clients to download.


January 10, 2012 15:07 Alex Spektor

Yesterday’s Nokia announcement at CES of an AT&T-bound Lumia 900 Windows Phone with LTE represents a significant win for the device vendor, whose marketshare in the smartphone-hungry North American market, as illustrated here, has been on a steady decline for at least the past 4 years.

Together with the earlier-announced T-Mobile version of the Lumia 710, Nokia will now have at least two smartphones selling in the US that are not based on Symbian, a platform that had only niche appeal to US consumers and operators.

According to the Strategy Analytics Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST) service, T-Mobile was Nokia’s most important operator client for smartphones in the US in 2011, as the vendor’s business-centric Eseries devices are long gone from AT&T’s portfolio. So what is likely to happen with the arrival of the two new Lumia models?

At AT&T:

  • Time-to-market will be a critical factor for the Lumia 900. Rival HTC has also just announced its first LTE Windows Phone, the Titan II, which could steal some of Nokia’s thunder with an early arrival. Highlighting unique-to-Nokia capabilities like Drive navigation will be critical in attracting Windows Phone buyers.
  • The Lumia 900 alone will not instantly catapult Nokia into first, second, or even third place at the operator, and the vendor will be faced from heavy competition from Samsung and HTC, both of whom will be fighting for the #2 spot behind Apple.
  • RIM, with its below-average superphone portfolio, could be hurt the most here. If, indeed, there is only room for 3 competing platforms, then AT&T’s OS-diverse portfolio could squeeze the BlackBerry maker’s volumes in 2012.

At T-Mobile:

  • Following the recent arrival of the Sprint iPhone, T-Mobile has become the only major US operator without a strong third platform.
  • The low-priced (US$50 with contract) Lumia 710 will have a lot of appeal to cost-sensitive feature phone upgraders.
  • Nokia will not compete with pricy HSPA+ 4G superphones, but rather will take volume from more low-end devices from Samsung and LG, as well as T-Mobile’s own myTouch brand, as consumers look for a simpler alternative to Android.

Ultimately, the success of these two handsets depends largely on the level of promotional support given to them by the operators, especially in retail stores where a lot consumers make their decisions based on sales rep recommendations. Nokia has been working closely with both carriers on this dimension, winning critical drive slots and retail display real estate.

Finally, it is worth to note the significance of both the AT&T and the T-Mobile phone carrying the Lumia sub-brand, rather than their own re-branding. Globally recognizable, memorable sub-brands have been key parts of the strategy for the world’s leading smartphone vendors (e.g., Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy). In the operator-dominated US market shared brands are still a rarity, and we see this as a positive sign for Nokia’s long-term recovery.

Alex Spektor
Wireless Smartphone Strategies


January 12, 2011 21:17 Alex Spektor

After years of public speculation, AT&T has finally lost its US exclusive on Apple’s megastar smartphone. As consumers prepare for the arrival of the Verizon Wireless (VZW) iPhone, we address some questions about the impact of this development.

Just how many iPhones will they sell?clip_image002

AT&T customers bought an average of around 4 million iPhones per quarter in 2010. Even if VZW achieves a conservative half of that run rate, it could mean 8 million CDMA iPhones shipped domestically in the first year. In addition to newcomers from other carriers, buyers will include existing subscribers, whose contracts will steadily come up for renewal over the next two years.

Of course, no longer the only option for iOS enthusiasts, AT&T volumes of the iPhone are likely to suffer this year. We can reference the end of iPhone exclusivity in Western Europe for an example of what may happen. As our Handset Country Share Tracker service shows, Apple’s peak share at exclusive carrier O2 UK was 10%. By the time the phone was also introduced at Vodafone and Orange, Apple’s share was roughly just 5-6% with each carrier.

Thus, while Apple’s total volumes are going to benefit as a result of this week’s announcement, neither carrier should expect to see the iPhone account for anywhere near the huge 70% of smartphone volumes that AT&T recorded in Q3 2010.

What impact will the network have?

Aside from a revised radio section and some cosmetic tweaks, the availability of a Wi-Fi hotspot feature is the only official new feature of the VZW iPhone. But AT&T defectors may find one other difference – the inability to simultaneously use voice and data on a CDMA network. As Droid users know, Wi-Fi data access can be used as a limited substitute, but expect outcries of a “lesser” experience from some frustrated buyers. Of course, the inevitable LTE iPhone (in 2012, perhaps?) will eventually equalize this matter.

Unlike AT&T, VZW does not have a bandwidth cap on its US$30/month plan. AT&T’s US$25/month plan provides just 2GB, which protects the carrier’s pipes from overloading, but prevents carefree use of compelling, but bandwidth-hogging apps like NetFlix. Coupled with broad perception that VZW is more reliable, it could mean an upside for the phone’s new carrier. However, we can expect AT&T to send a heavy message about its HSPA network being faster than its competitor’s EV-DO Rev. A.

How will this impact the competition?

AT&T has been preparing for the loss of exclusivity since at least early last year, adding a broad range of Android (and later Windows Phone 7) models. Expect an onslaught of high-end Android handsets (such as the Motorola Atrix 4G) to quickly replace lost iPhone volumes at AT&T, benefitting the likes of Samsung and HTC.

Meanwhile, VZW’s strong Droid brand of Google-phones is likely to take a hit. VZW subscribers looking for a less complex experience than Android’s will find the iPhone to be a gem, cannibalizing the carrier’s own volumes. The real impact, however, will be felt by RIM. The BlackBerry portfolio still lacks a solid full-screen touchphone, and unless the Canadian vendor comes up with one soon, it stands to lose further share with VZW.

-Alex Spektor

USA Smartphone OS Marketshare by Operator: Q3 2010

Global Smartphone Sales Forecast by Operating System: 2002 to 2015