HD Mobile Voice Surge Expected in ’14

April 29, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Mobile Phone | Retail & E-Commerce | Technology | Telecom

The use of high definition (HD) mobile handsets, virtually nonexistent in 2010, should begin ramping up 2013 and surge in 2014, according to data from ABI Research.

2009-2013: Slow, Steady Growth
Usage of HD mobile handsets, which a barely registerable number of worldwide mobile subscribers began acquiring in 2009, is expected to trickle upward through the rest of this year and the first half of 2011. By the second half of 2011, the North American and Asia-Pacific markets are expected to drive incremental but notable growth in mobile handset usage. However, by the end of 2011, total worldwide users of mobile HD handsets should still total less than 20 million.


Growth is forecast to continue at a slight pace in 2012, with the Western European market providing most of the increase. In 2013, the total number of worldwide mobile HD handset users should jump to around 40 million, with a surge in Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern users offsetting plateaus in North American and Western European users.

2014 Marks Explosion
Following the ramp-up in mobile HD handset usage in 2013, an explosion in mobile HD handset subscribers is expected to occur in 2014, with strong increases in the Asia-Pacific and North American markets driving global numbers. The total number of worldwide subscribers should reach close to 150 million by the end of the year.

In 2015, exponential growth in Asia-Pacific and North America will push the worldwide mobile HD voice market to an estimated 487 million. The Asia-Pacific market should be about 25% larger than the North American market.

Low Cost, Consumer Expectations Drive Shift
Relatively low cost to upgrade mobile voice networks to HD and consumer expectations will drive the shift to HD mobile handset usage, according to ABI analysis. Newer 3G infrastructure that has been deployed since 2005-06 can already use the new format and require only a software update and a changeover to HD handsets, although much of the older 3G infrastructure in more developed markets will have to be updated.

In addition, more than 900 million voice-over-IP (VoIP) users already obtain HD-quality voice transmissions via the Skype service and are starting to expect it on their mobile phones. ABI predicts mobile phone users will not pay more per minute for HD handsets, but may not have their costs falls as quickly as those of conventional handset users.

HD Could Help Tip Tight US Mobile Handset Competition
The top three US mobile handset OEMs are in tight competition for market share, according to the latest comScore MobiLens data, and capitalizing on the expected growth in HD-enabled handsets may help one provider pull ahead. For the three-month average ending February 2010, Motorola led all US OEMs with 22.3% market share, but LG and Samsung closely followed with respective market shares of 21.7% and 21.4%.


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