Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LTE cellphones growing at 406 percent annual rate

MESA, USA: Forward Concepts has announced the publication of its newest in-depth annual study of the worldwide cellphone market and virtually all of the chips that go into them.

The extensive (654-page) study, “Cellular Handset & Chip Markets '11,” gauges the performance of the top 34 handset vendors and ranks their 2010 annual growth and market shares. The study provides dozens of detailed forecasts by technology through 2015 of handsets and cellular handset chips of all types.

Although Samsung and Apple are growing faster, Nokia continues to be the leading handset vendor. However, Nokia's average handset selling price is among the lowest because of their huge share of the low-end markets in China, India and Africa. The report also provides average 2010 handset prices for each vendor.

In addition, the report provides estimates of the market shares of handset vendors by air technology, including CDMA-1xEV-DO, HSPA+ and LTE. Even ultra-low-cost GSM/GPRS/EDGE and CDMA-1x cellphones and their monolithic baseband+RF transceiver chips are forecast by air interface.

Importantly, the study estimates 2010 market shares of chip vendors and forecasts virtually every chip type in units, average selling price and revenue through 2015. Market metrics are the central focus of the study, and some key findings include:

* Cellular handset shipments grew a healthy 12 percent in 2010 to 1.4-billion units. That's compared with 2009's negative 1.3 percent drop. We predict a strong, but more traditional growth in 2011 of 4.3 percent to 1.5 billion units, but smartphones will continue to do better, growing 15.4 percent to the 318 million unit level.

* As smartphones continue taking an increasing share of the handset market, so-called feature phones will only grow by 2.5 percent in 2011, because smartphone prices have become more attractive. And, ultra-low-cost phones for developing countries will grow by a respectable 14.5 percent.

- Excluding memory, which is a major portion of handset cost, the cellphone component market grew to 23 percent to $55.2 billion in 2010.

- One shouldn't lose sight of the fact that cellphone LCD displays constituted $16 billion of that 2010 component market, making them the most expensive segment of the cellphone component market.

- Although baseband chips constitute the largest non-memory cellphone chip market at $12.7 billion for 2010, There are other billion-dollar-plus cellphone chip markets, including $4.5 billion for power management units, $3.7 billion for RF transceivers, $2.9 billion for image sensors, $2.8 billion for RF power amplifiers, $1.5 billion for standalone application processors and $1.2 billion for touch- and navigation-screen controllers.

- Other cellphone chips in the billion-dollar-plus class include those for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and fast-growing MEMS & sensors. Of course, GPS and FM radio are also significant peripheral chips each with over a half-billion dollars in 2010 shipments. Moreover, the wireless peripheral "combo" radio devices consisting of Wi-Fi, FM/AM, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC (though not yet integrated) together now constitute fully 8 percent of the cellphone component market.

- NFC (Near Field Communications) is the newest chip to excite the cellphone business. Although popular in Japan for contactless payments, the 61-million 2010 unit market is just catching on in Europe and the US, but we predict will grow at a 71 percent annual rate to 458 million units shipping in 2015.

- The highest expected 2011 growth rates in cellphone chips include LTE basebands at 8x, NFC at 94 percent, GPS at 33 percent, touch controllers at 25 percent, standalone application processors at 17 percent, Wi-Fi at 15 percent and MEMS at 14 percent.
- In spite of the demise of FloTV in the US, the mobile TV market for cellphones is growing worldwide with 2010 receiver shipments of over 85 million units.

According to the principal author, Carter L. Horney: "Qualcomm retains the leadership position in cellphone chips of all types, followed by Texas Instruments, Intel (after acquiring Infineon), ST-Ericsson, MediaTek and Broadcom. TD-SCDMA handset growth is strong now in China with ST-Ericsson, Spreadtrum and MediaTek as the lead baseband vendors, and Qualcomm is expected to soon follow."

Will Strauss, Forward Concepts’ president and editor of the report, said: "The HSDPA, HSUPA and HSPA+ networks are significant for 3G phone shipments now. The multi-mode 3G/4G LTE basebands with legacy 3G cellular first appeared in 2010, but only as USB dongles or aircards. However, by late 2H11 multi-mode 4G-LTE smart phones should begin shipping."

He added: "This valuable resource provides the key information needed for new business plans. We are confident that this study provides the most comprehensive coverage of cellphone and cellphone chip markets available."

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