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WCDMA handset accounted for half of total GSM handset shipments worldwide during Q2 2013

by Linda Sui | Aug 09, 2013

According to the newly published report from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) services : VENDOR SHARE: Global Handset Market by Technology: Q2 2013, WCDMA handset accounted for 50% of total GSM handset shipments worldwide, up from 43% in Q2 2012. This is the first time ever it has hit the halfway mark. The major growth was contributed by developed markets, boosted by a surge in demand for Android designs, especially from Samsung and LG. Emerging markets are also contributing significantly to the 3G UMTS handset segment, with BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China and India) countries witnessing strong growth in Q2 2013.

GSM / GPRS / EDGE legitimate handset shipments continued to slow down (-21% YoY) worldwide in Q2 2013. The demand for 2G GSM handsets has now dipped to 2005 levels. With 3G handsets getting ever cheaper, this is reducing the attractiveness of 2G devices, and we expect the 2G segment to slip further in coming quarters.

CDMA handset shipments down 19% annually. We expect CDMA technology to continue to sunset in 2013, as several major CDMA operators continue to quickly convert existing subscribers to 4G LTE networks in key CDMA markets like the USA and Japan, thus somewhat offsetting the CDMA growth story seen in China.

TD-SCDMA handset shipments more than doubled volumes annually.  Aggressive marketing promotions, subsidy support from China Mobile, combined with massively increasing supply of entry- to mid-tier models from local Chinese handset vendors such as Lenovo, Coolpad and ZTE, led the uptick in handset shipment volumes in Q2 2013. The TD-SCDMA market is now entering in its last major growth phase as China Mobile gears up for the 4G TD-LTE network at the end of this year. As a result, we believe China Mobile started moderating some subsidies for TD-SCDMA players at the end of Q2 2013 and this will lead to a medium level of inventory-buildup in Q3 2013. In other words, some TD-SCDMA handset vendors appear to be over-stocking at the moment.

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