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Friday, January 26, 2007

WiFi and dual-mode phone sales

I see that one of my analyst peers has released a report on WiFi phone shipments. Always tricky to interpret actual data from a press release, as it never has the full set of definitions / assumptions, but I'm scratching my head about a couple of things.

"Samsung leads in dual-mode WiFi/cellular handset revenue market share, followed by Nokia"

This seems unlikely, unless it specifically excludes smartphones from the definition of "handset". Nokia announced in its results yesterday that "The Eseries sold almost 2 million units since its introduction in the second quarter 2006.", presumably accounting for a fairly large chunk of the total €1bn sales of its Enterprise business unit. The E60, E61 and E70 have WiFi, while the E50 and E62 don't - and it seems to be the E61 that's the winner at present, which I guess goes for around $300 ex-factory price. Added to its N80, 6136 & other WiFi-based dual-modes, I'd be surprised if it hasn't shipped $500m+ on its own. I suspect HTC's in the same ballpark too with its various PDA-style devices, many of which have WiFi. Apart from the Samsung P200 and T709 UMA versions (which have probably shipped <100k units) I can't see where it's getting the volume, unless it's selling a shedload of WiFi/CDMA devices in Korea .


Mo said...

Are any of those Nokia devices (let alone the HTCs) dual-mode mode-though, rather than just having a WiFi-based Internet access capability?

I would have thought (and obviously they might well be defining ‘dual-mode’ differently to skew the figures), that a device would have to be natively-capable of making calls over WiFi to be considered ‘dual-mode WiFi/cellular’.

Anonymous said...

The key term here really is 'natively' capable devices. Most WM5 devices with Wi-Fi allow the download of a SIP client for VoIP. Nokia's E61 has full SIP client configuration options. In my mind, if the device functionality for VoIP calls was enabled by the operator that sold the terminal and associated service plan, then it can be counted as a 'dual-mode' phone. From that view, Samsung's P200/T709 has certainly racked up some sales, but I would not have put them at number 1. Samsung devices sold to KTF typically do not contain VoIP, so they should not count. Would be interesting to find out where this analyst group put Wistron or Foxconn.

Frank Bulk said...

When I read the press release I was surprised, too. According to the methodology section of the report, only Samsung's SGH-P200 is listed. For Nokia, the 9500 Communicator, E60, E61, E70, 6136, and N91 are listed.

Samsung must have sold a whole bunch more SGH-P200's than everyone presumes.

Dean Bubley said...

Well, unless T-Mobile or someone has a warehouse full of 500k+ Samsungs P200/T709s manufactured last year & sitting on a shelf, I still don't think the numbers work.

My understanding is that c100k WiFi UMA handsets (certainly less than 200k) have actually shipped to end-users, as a mix of Samsungs, plus Moto A910's & Nokia 6136s.

I'd also disagree that dual-mode devices need to be "voice optimised" by definition. As it happens, various of the Nokia devices ship with VoIP clients (eg N80i) and many of the SIP-based startups like Truphone & Fring tend to use E-series devices as their platform of choice.

In particular, the anonymous comment that "...the operator that sold the terminal...." - does this mean that all non-operator sales of WiFi/cellular devices (ie a very substantial %) cannot by definition be called dual-mode, even if used with a non-operator VoIP client? For example, Truphone's lent me an E60 as a demo device (haven't got it working yet...), although I could just have bought one SIM-free from Expansys if I'd wanted.

Anonymous said...

Excuse-me. I don't understand anything of the debate which takes place here. That's mean to me, you must be very competent about cell phones and stuff.

My question : I am 61. I have bought that new nokia for my new work. And I know I have messages on it, but I don't know how to listen to the responder.