Just a few days before, IDC predicted that smartphones would surpass feature phones shipments this year; 50.1% of mobile handsets to be sold in 2013 will be smartphones. In addition, China will hold the first position in terms of smartphone sales this year, followed by the US. More importantly, India is going to take third position in terms of smartphone shipments by 2017, with 155.6 million sales.
According to a recent report from by Strategy Analytics, global mobile subscriptions will rise to 8.9 billion over the next five years, and developing countries would account for 80% of all subscriptions during this period. Undoubtedly, China and India will play significant role in the growth of global mobile subscriptions over next few years. However, the demand of mobile handsets are continuously been growing up in Middle East and Africa. Of course, mobile industry is going to create a huge opportunity for all–carriers, mobile makers and app developers.
Furthermore, the growth rate of mobile subscriptions in developing countries is expected to be greater than developed markets. The subscription in developing countries would rise at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%, which is substantially faster than 2.8% growth rate of matured markets. The firm (Strategy Analytics) has estimated that mobile services revenue growth rate in Nigeria would be twice as the worldwide average.
Still the majority of people in developing markets are using feature phones. For majority of users in these markets, mobile handset is just a “calling and texting” device. The growth rate of mobile subscriptions in developing markets would be driven by growing population of middle class. In Africa, the African Development Bank estimated that one-third of the population in the country (nearly 350 million) were middle class in 2010, up from 220 million in 2000. The growing number of middle class in developing markets are demanding more extensive data services. This is the reason why the number of data consuming devices such as smartphones, high-end feature phones and tablets are exponentially growing in these markets.
Nokia has little bit succeeded to claw back some of its market share with a low-end device strategy, selling of Asha lineup of series 40 handsets. In addition, at MWC 2013 trade show, the Finnish company announced an $85 priced feature phone with some smart extra features such as an ability to share photos to social networks and more.
Samsung is currently working on its Tizen OS in order to launch another potential low-end contender. Besides Tizen, number of OSes, including Sailfish and Ubuntu, are going to debut this year. At MWC event this year, Indian telecom vendor Bharti Airtel, which operates in India and Africa, announced to launch $30 smartphones to push down the price barriers this year. However, we have already made debate that India would have 264 million internet-enabled smartphones by 2016.