Entry-level handset markets to enjoy 24% annual growth through 2014

The world's largest underserved markets for mobile communications are in developing nations and regions. Asia, Africa, Latin America all have vast potential, but formidable barriers stand in the way. Among the most immediate: the low disposable income of most of the population. Low cost and ultra-low cost (ULCH) handsets are seen as part of the solution to that problem, and according to a new study from ABI Research the two categories together will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 per cent over the next five years.

"The price of a ULCH handset is widely seen as critical to the tipping point for mass adoption in emerging markets," said industry analyst Michael Morgan. Handsets are rarely subsidised in emerging markets. The GSMA has pegged the maximum desirable ULCH handset price at US$25 through next year and at US$20 for 2011-2012. Morgan extends that curve: "I believe in 2013-2014 the top price for a ULCH phone will be no more than US$15, which is feasible because some handset models are hitting that price today." Article