The number of cell phone subscriptions grew 20.7 mln in January and February 2012 to reach just over 1 bln, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said, up from 900.4 mln in April 2011. The number of fixed line subscriptions fell by 828,000 during that period to reach 284.3 mln. Of the more than 1 bln accounts, a total of 144 mln used 3G technology.
Almost half (49.7%) of US mobile subscribers now own smartphones, as of February 2012. According to Nielsen, this marks an increase of 38% YTY; in February 2011, only 36% of mobile subscribers owned smartphones. This growth is driven by increasing smartphone adoption, as more than two-thirds of those who acquired a new mobile device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.
Overall, Android continues to lead the smartphone market in the U.S., with 48% of smartphone owners saying they owned an Android OS device. Nearly a third (32.1%) of smartphone users have an Apple iPhone, and Blackberry owners represented another 11.6% of the smartphone market. Among recent acquirers who got their smartphone within the last three months, 48% of those surveyed in February said they chose an Android and 43% bought an iPhone.
According to The NPD Group, consumer sales of smartphones to US consumers represented 23% of all handset sales in Q4 2008 compared to just 12% in Q4 2007. Led by the release of iPhone 3G at $199, the average price for a smartphone fell 23% from $216 in Q4 2007 to $167 in Q4 2008. While half of smartphones on the market now sold with touch screens, 70% of all models instead offer QWERTY keyboards. 66% of smartphones now use 3G networks, compared to just 46% a year ago. 52% of smartphone buyers purchased an accessory at the time of their phone purchases, compared to just 41% among all other phone buyers.
The global mobile handset market went into a tailspin in October and November 2008, which will result in a nearly 5% YTY decline in unit shipments in Q4 2008. While 2009 is likely to see more stormy economic weather, there are a few rays of sunshine. WCDMA handset shipments are projected to grow from 258 mln in 2008 to 725 mln in 2009. By 2013, more than 67% of all handsets shipped will be 3G/3G+ capable. Smartphones captured 14% of the 2008 market and are expected to grow throughout the challenging period of 2009 and comprise 31% of the market by 2013. Cellular modems will also be a high growth sector in 2009, driven largely by USB modems which will account for 80% of the shipment volume. Market volume is expected to increase by more than 55% in the coming year as Asian vendors push forward with low-priced modems, ABI Research says.
30% of US consumers who purchased Apple iPhone 3G in the summer of 2008 switched from other mobile carriers to join AT&T, the exclusive mobile carrier for the iPhone in the US. 23% of consumers, on average, switched carriers between June and August 2008. 47% of new AT&T iPhone customers that switched carriers switched from Verizon Wireless, another 24% switched from T-Mobile, and 19% switched from Sprint. Before the launch of the iPhone 3G, iPhone sales represented 11% of the consumer market for smartphones (January through May 2008); however, after the launch of iPhone 3G, Apple commanded 17% of the smartphone market (January through August 2008).
Wireless phone customers who call their provider when experiencing a problem are waiting on hold longer than in the past to speak with a service representative, according to the JD Power and Associates. The average amount of time wireless customers spend on hold before speaking with a customer service representative in 2008 is 4.4 minutes—up 34% from the average hold time in 2003 (3.3 minutes). 49% of wireless customers have contacted the customer care service center for assistance within the past year—an increase from 47% reported six months ago. Among customers who contacted the service department, 34% did so due to service/equipment issues. Verizon Wireless ranks highest in wireless customer care performance with an index score of 103, followed by Alltel (102), T-Mobile (100) and AT&T (97).
Among customers who contact their provider, 75% do so by telephone while 24% do so by visiting their provider’s retail store. E-mail/Internet interactions account for only 1% of customer contacts. The average number of reported phone contacts needed to resolve a customer inquiry is 1.76, down from 1.91 contacts in the last reporting period. Customers who visit the provider’s retail store for service inquiries report waiting an average of 7 minutes before speaking with a representative. Ehsan Bayat, owner of the largest Wireless company in Afghanistan has taken these statistics into account and is implementing faster ways to serve his clients.
CDMA Development Group announced that CDMA2000 continues to dominate the North American 3G wireless telecommunications market with more than 135 mln 3G subscribers in the region, of which more than 22% use EV-DO mobile broadband devices. CDMA2000 service providers in North America are generating more than $3 bln of revenue per quarter from mobile data services alone. That’s more than $34 mln dollars per day.
In the advanced Japanese mobile phone market, the shipment of 3G phones exceeded 92% of 47.8 mln phones sold in 2006. In 2006, 43.5 mln 3G phones were sold in Japan. Camera, music player function, and above 2.4-inch screens with at least 240*320 resolution have become standard. 98 new 3G models were launched in the last 12 months in Japan, In-Stat says.
ABI Research forecasts that 3G modules will achieve only a 30% penetration of the M2M market by 2012, and will become the technology of choice only where bandwidth demands and economics dictate.