Global phone shipment to grow 8 percent in 2012

Phone makers to ship 1.67 billion units worldwide as consumers in emerging markets upgrade their handsets, with 3G and 4G devices making up more than half of total mobile phone market for first time, report states.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Worldwide shipment of mobile phones will continue to grow at a projected rate of 8 percent in 2012, with 3G and 4G handsets constituting more than half of the total mobile phone market for the first time.

According to a study by ABI Research released on Thursday, the number of mobile handsets shipped is expected to hit 1.67 billion by end-2012, driven on by aggressive marketing by handset makers targeting the upwardly mobile consumer demographic in emerging markets.

Jake Saunders, vice president of forecasting at ABI Research, also pointed out that for the first time, 3G and 4G handsets will represent more than half of the total number shipped.

The research firm noted that top-tier phone makers began redoubling their efforts to promote their smartphone line-up to "upwardly mobile, aspirational smartphone owners in emerging markets" since the second half of 2011. Samsung, for one, has been making "substantial inroads" into emerging smartphone markets with its veried device segmentation strategy, the research firm pointed out.

Apple, too, has been expanding its sales channels in emerging markets but experiencing greater success in China than in India, ABI Research stated. It is also targeting South American markets such as Brazil. During the launch of its latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S, Cupertino announced its older generation handset, iPhone 3GS, will be available for free with a two-year contract with participating carriers, an earlier report noted.

Meanwhile, beleaguered Canadian BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) continues to do well in messaging-centric emerging markets such as Indonesia, despite its weakness in "apps-capable smartpohone markets", the study revealed.

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