Smartphones boost mobile industry: In-Stat

Smartphones generate greater revenues for various segments of mobile phone industry, and should be promoted by mobile players, says analyst.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

The growing popularity of smartphones is increasing demand for mobile data, which in turn, spells a growth in revenue for operators, according to In-Stat.

The latest survey results released by the research firm showed more than 95 percent of smartphone users polled consumed mobile data through applications or services in the last year.

Smartphones are generally defined as phones that can run more advanced mobile applications and access the Internet.

Jill Meyers, industry analyst at In-Stat, said in the report, the smartphone trend in the United States has been bolstered by the introduction of the popular Apple iPhone device last year.

Meyers said this trend is expected to continue with the releases of the updated iPhone 3G and expected additions of smartphones with Google's Android platform installed.

Besides being a source of extra revenue for operators, smartphone popularity also brings new opportunities to application developers and phone manufacturers, she said.

"The promotion of smartphones would serve the mobile industry well," said Meyers.

Smartphone users plan to spend "significantly more on average" for their next handsets than traditional handset users, at an average US$195.70 compared to US$121.33, according to the survey.

In Asia, however, the proportion of data consumers is likely to shrink amid the growing base of consumers from emerging markets.

According to a recent Ovum report, voice services are expected to remain a top priority for operators above data because of the growing emerging market segment, which is expected to consume lower-end models.

An executive from chip manufacturer, NXP Semiconductors, also said earlier this year, phone manufacturers will have to contend with dropping average revenues per user (ARPU) in Asia, and will have to "mix-and-match" features to find the best compromise between function and price for models released in the region.

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