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Handsets with GPS expected to quadruple in 2011

Posted: 07 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile handsets with GPS  A-GPS  wireless communications  CDMA 

Global shipments of mobile handsets equipped with GPS capability will quadruple in 2011 at 44.4 crore units, up from 10.96 crore units in 2006, reported iSuppli Corp.

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Market forecast(Click to view image.)

By 2011, 29.6 per cent of all mobile phones shipped will have GPS capability, up from 11.1 per cent in 2006. Driving this is the U.S. government's mandate for Emergency 911 (E911) capability as well as wireless operators' initiatives to offer location-based services (LBSs), said 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 eyeing to introduce new GPS-based, revenue-generating services to increase ARPU."

Such LBSs are the key services that could drive up ARPUs, noted iSuppli. LBSs include value-added services that incorporate user location pinpointed by satellites or other tools with location databases. The most common services are user location, turn-by-turn navigation, location search, tracking, information services and social networking.

Promising market
According to iSuppli, E911 mandates also are driving the expansion of the GPS-enabled handset market in the United States. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1996 issued a report that requires all operators to precisely locate the position of wireless callers making emergency 911 calls.

The regulation was implemented in three phases: Phases 0, I and II. Phase II of the E911 implementation requires all operators to deliver specific latitude and longitude information of the caller, also known as Automatic Location Identification (ALI). This can be accomplished using a GPS-enabled mobile handset.

Qualcomm Inc., a supplier of CDMA solutions, began to integrate GPS processors into its digital baseband semiconductors in 2000. The company ensures its CDMA network infrastructure products support the functionalities that its digital basebands deliver including GPS.

Given this, CDMA-dominated nations in the U.S. and South Korea are expected to be the leading regions for GPS-enabled mobile handsets. Added iSuppli, Europe will be the next largest GPS-enabled handset market as GPS functionality penetrates into smart phones.

Semiconductor suppliers, wireless network operators and device manufacturers are already in the GPS game, noted iSUppli. LBS will encourage more suppliers to provide the most efficient solutions in terms of power consumption, Time to First Fix (TTFF) and affordable pricing for A-GPS adoption.

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