Readying For Wi-Fi Growth In Handsets

Market analysts at IMS Research have explored the potential growth for Wi-Fi in mobile telephone handsets. Although the number of mobile phones offering Wi-Fi capabilities is currently at 25, driven by operators of both mobile and fixed networks, many customers of these handsets never use the Wi-Fi functionality. These analysts feel that there are many barriers to the adoption of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). For example, according to Bill Morelli, Mobile Technologies analyst at IMS Research, "From very few shipments in 2006 (1.6 percent of the global total), shipments of Wi-Fi equipped handsets are forecast to reach nearly one in five of annual shipments by 2012. While this is respectable growth, it is far more moderate than what many ardent FMC supporters are projecting."

At present, FMC voice and data services are targeted mainly at high-usage enterprise and consumer companies, with a feeling that operators will stay away from lower-spending users. Wi-Fi equipped handset shipments are expected to be limited to high-end feature-rich phones and smartphones, and will be priced out of the reach of the majority of users. The Wi-Fi equipped handset market is expected to be limited to subscribers with access to Wi-Fi access points for voice and data services. But emerging services from providers such as T-Mobile and Orange may boost the market. For more, contact IMS Research.

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