Fixed access lines are quickly evaporating in the US and China as mobile substitution evolves. According to the latest report from Infonetics the number of mobile subscribers grew 17.4% in 2008, while access line subscribers declined 5.5%.
The report claims that during 2008 there were nearly 4 times more mobile subscribers than access line subscribers worldwide, 3.9 billion vs. 1 billion, with the recession playing a significant role in users ditching their fixed lines.
“The global recession did not prevent people from using communication services, but it clearly accelerated the pace of wireline-to-mobile substitution,” said Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile and FMC. China, with half a billion mobile subscribers in 2008, and India together made Asia Pacific the world's largest mobile subscriber region, Téral said. “The EMEA region is next, with strong growth driven by Africa.”
The report forecasts that total mobile subs will reach 5.9 billion by 2013, driven mainly by basic voice demand, particularly in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).
Despite the heavy demand for entry-level phones, Infonetics also predicted the smartphone market was on track to post a 14.5% increase in units sold in 2009, and a 21% compound annual growth rate from 2008 to 2013.
Smartphone revenue is expected to dip in 2009 mainly due to price erosion and lower-ARPU units coming to market, but will pick up in 2010 and continue growing, to outstrip the combined revenue of standard mobile phones by 2012, Infonetics said.
Smartphones account for an increasing percentage of total mobile phone revenue, driven in part by accelerating HSPA deployments in North America, Western Europe, and developed Asia Pacific countries.
“On the vendor market share front, Apple's smartphone share rose to 9% in the second quarter of 2009 on the strength of the iPhone 3GS. Competition for the iPhone is increasing though, with AT&T's splashy launch of the Blackberry Bold 3G in partnership with RIM a prime example,” the report said.
“And while iPhone applications are proliferating, the iPhone OS is sure to face stiff competition from the open-source Android platform. Apple will have to fight hard to drive its market share back above 10%," said Richard Webb, directing analyst for mobile devices.