Shipments of GPS cell phone to reach 444M by 2011

Nokia N95
Nokia N95
According to a report from iSuppli released last week, global shipments of mobile handsets equipped with GPS capability are expected to more than quadruple from 2006 to 2011. GPS-equipped mobile handset shipments will increase to 444 million units by 2011, rising from 109.6 million units in 2006. By 2011, 29.6 percent of all mobile phones shipped will have GPS capability, up from 11.1 percent in 2006.

This trend is mainly due to the U.S. government’s mandate for Emergency 911 (E911) capability as well as wireless operators’ initiatives to offer Location-Based Services (LBSs), according to iSuppli Corp.

“Besides cameras, multimedia capabilities and connectivity solutions, mobile-handset OEMs increasingly are investigating the integration of GPS functionality in mobile devices as a value-added product differentiator,” said Tina Teng, analyst, wireless communications at iSuppli. “Wireless carriers are looking at introducing various new GPS-based, revenue-generating services to increase Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).”

Interestingly iSuppli do not see Nokia as one of the force shaping the trend for GPS-enabled handsets. This denotes the U.S. centric approach of this report. Looking at Europe it is hard to believe wireless operators are driving this market. The huge cost of data roaming is hampering the development of off-board navigation and operators are definitely most interested in mobile TV than in location-based services; despite research showing their customers are thinking the other way around.

Monday, November 5th 2007

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