Smart phones to 'surge' in Asia

2010-08-23 11:31

Singapore - Smart phones will make up over half of Asian mobile phone sales by 2015, with 477 million units likely to be sold, an industry report said on Monday.

Consultancy Frost and Sullivan said smart phones would account for 54% of the Asia-Pacific mobile market in five years, up sharply from 5% in 2009.

The sharp take-up rate for smart phones will be a huge revenue boost for telecom operators as it means a surge in demand for data services, the consultancy said.

Smart phones are high-end mobile devices providing faster access to data connections such as email and internet browsing than so-called feature phones, which have less computing ability.

Subscribers usually pay more for mobile data services, translating into higher average revenue per user (ARPU) for operators keen to make up for flat or declining earnings growth from feature phones.

"Smart phones are critical to every operator's mobile broadband business case, as a smart phone user's ARPU typically increased by 25% to 100% after adoption depending on the market," said Marc Einstein, the consultancy's industry manager.

"The Asia-Pacific market is particularly interesting for smart phones as there has been significant uptake in emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia, even among prepaid users," he said in the report.

Apple's popular iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry, a favourite with corporate users, are largely credited with sparking consumer interest in smart phones in the last few years.