FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.

































24 October 2006


Mobile shipments top 245m in Q3/2006; on target for 1bn by year end

Second-quarter 2006 was a bit softer than expected in terms of handset shipments and prices, but ABI Research anticipates that Q4/2006 will prove a boom quarter for mobile operators and handset vendors. "The market topped 245 million mobile devices shipped in Q3/2006 and the global mobile devices marketplace is on target to reach 1 billion devices by the year's end," said Jake Saunders, research director at ABI Research. "Handset vendors are
pulling out all the stops to get their slickest, flattest, largest music memory, biggest mega-pixel camera phones onto the shelves in time for the Q4/2006 holiday jamborees," he adds.

The big five handset makers - Nokia (36%), Motorola (23.3%), Samsung (12.5%), Sony Ericsson (8.1%), and LG (6.7%) - all increased market share at the expense of the smaller handset vendors. Economies of scale, and
marketing, it seems, are everything. "Initiatives such as super thin phones have helped manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola gain market share, but Nokia's ability to pump out phones for the emerging markets, cut handset average selling prices (ASPs), and exploit its brand image have served to maintain, and even boost, Nokia's market-share," said principal analyst Stuart Carlaw.

The net result of this scramble for market share has been lower ASPs. "The global weighted ASP dropped a steep -7.8% in Q3/2006 compared to a 1.6% rise in Q2," said Saunders, "Q4/2006 is unlikely to fare any better. The
competition is cut-throat."

In Q3/2006, 3G handset shipment volumes proved to be a bit soft. 2.75G EDGE, which has been rolled out by a number of operators, has made the perceived performance gain of owning a 3G phone over a 2G GSM phone less distinct. Also, a number of vendors and operators are planning a big overhaul of their 3G phone line up for Q4/2006. Recently Vodafone announced that it will be
unveiling ten new phones for the festive season, six of which have capabilities for 3.5G HSDPA, which 'turbo-charges' 3G. HSPDA will dramatically change the download experience for end-users wishing to download music, games, etc. But, ABI questions, will the turbo-charge kick
in quickly enough?

See related items:

Mobile phone sales grew 18% in Q2/2006; Q3 to reach 238m units  

3G subscriptions to reach 285m by end-2006

Sony Ericsson takes 'fastest growing vendor' title