Dual Mode Phones Race Ahead

Mobile VoIP is a hit with consumers according to the “Mobile and WiFi Phones and Subscribers” report released today by the Campbell CA-based telecom analyst firm Infonetics Research.

While mobile phone sales worldwide were up a healthy 13 percent in 2006, the interesting number is a 327 percent growth in WiFi phone sales during the same period.

Still not impressed? Consider what Infonetices predicts for the rest of the decade: A compound annual growth rate close to 200 percent for cellular/WiFi dual mode phones.

Consumers are choosing these two to one over single-mode WiFi equipment. In 2006 71 percent of WiFi phone revenue came from dual-mode handsets while single mode WiFi made up only 29 percent of the total.

The report is certainly good news for makes of dual mode handsets; a rapidly growing field that includes established mobile phone players like Nokia as well as newcomers like San Jose, CA-based Hellosoft.

The numbers reflect user impatience with juggling multiple devices, according to Infonetics.

“Users are demanding single number/single device services, and operators like T-Mobile announced converged services based on Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) in 2006,” said directing analyst for wireless at Infonetics Research Richard Webb in today’s press release. “UMA is a good example of early fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), prior to the eventual shift to IMS in the long-term.”

“More operators are transforming into integrated multimedia service providers, creating converged mobile, wireless LAN, and VoIP solutions that support voice and data services across enterprise, public, and home networks,” Webb continued. “The appeal of such converged services is driving WiFi phone adoption, especially in dual-mode WiFi/ cellular handsets.”

Other highlights of the study include:

  • 2G/2.5G GSM handsets made up 49 perent of worldwide mobile phone revenue in 2006; the remainder was made up by 2G CDMA, W-CDMA, and CDMA2000 handset sales.
  • Worldwide mobile subscribers are estimated at 2.5 billion in 2006 (up 26 percent from 2005), and are forecast to grow 42% to 3.6 billion in 2010.
  • Cisco leads in single-mode WiFi handset revenue market share in 2006, followed by SpectraLink.
  • Samsung leads in dual-mode WiFi/cellular handset revenue market share, followed by Nokia.
  • North America leads in worldwide revenue for single-mode WiFi phones, and Asia Pacific leads in revenue for dual-mode WiFi/cellular phones.