Wi-Fi phone market soaring to $3.7b in 2009--report

24 Jul 2006

The worldwide Wi-Fi phone market increased 116% between 2004 and 2005 to $125.5 million, and is projected to more than double in 2006 as enterprises and consumers slowly but steadily continue deploying voice over wireless LANs, said Infonetics Research in its latest report.

Infonetics projects Wi-Fi phone revenue to more or less double, and even nearly triple, every year through 2009, when the worldwide market will reach $3.7 billion.

Initially an enterprise application, voice-over-WLAN will eventually become more popular with consumers as well, having enormous growth potential as part of a VoIP service bundled with broadband connections.

'Single-mode Wi-Fi VoIP handsets continue to penetrate the enterprise market, and with D-Link, Linksys, and NETGEAR all launching products, we expect increasing adoption in the consumer market, too,' said Richard Webb, directing wireless analyst with Infonetics Research.

'But the real growth will come from dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets,' Webb continued. 'With the increased activity from both fixed and mobile operators to deliver dual-mode services to the mass market, often as part of a more far-reaching fixed-mobile convergence strategy, the long-term forecast for dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets is strong, assuming these handsets come down in price to sub-100 dollars or euros.'

The report also said total Wi-Fi phone units grew 151% between 2004 and 2005 and will grow 182% between 2005 and 2006

It added that 58% of WiFi phone revenue came from single-mode Wi-Fi VoIP handsets in

2005, 42% from dual-mode handsets; and by 2009, 91% of revenue will come from dual-mode handsets.

In terms of geography, 49% of dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handset revenue came from Asia Pacific, 27% from North America, 22% EMEA, 2% CALA in 2005, but this shifts dramatically by 2009, when much more revenue will be generated in EMEA.

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