The global Wi-Fi phone market is poised to enjoy stellar growth this year as enterprises and consumers ramp up voice over wireless Lan deployments.
Data published today by Infonetics Research suggests that the Wi-Fi telephony sector jumped 116 per cent between 2004 and 2005 to $125.5m, and is projected to more than double in 2006.
Infonetics predicted that Wi-Fi phone revenue will more or less double, and even nearly triple, every year through 2009, when the worldwide market will reach $3.7bn.
Initially an enterprise application, voice over wireless Lan will eventually become more popular with consumers, having "enormous growth potential" as part of a VoIP service bundled with broadband connections.
"Single-mode Wi-Fi VoIP handsets continue to penetrate the enterprise market, and with D-Link, Linksys and Netgear all launching products we expect increasing adoption in the consumer market too, " said Richard Webb, directing wireless analyst at Infonetics Research.
"But the real growth will come from dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets. With the increased activity from fixed and mobile operators to deliver dual-mode services to the mass market, often as part of a more far-reaching fixed-mobile convergence strategy, the long-term forecast for dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets is strong, assuming these handsets come down in price to under $100 or €100."
The analyst firm also noted that total Wi-Fi phone units grew 151 per cent between 2004 and 2005 and will grow 182 per cent between 2005 and 2006.
Almost half of the dual-mode Wi-Fi/mobile handset revenues in 2005 came from Asia Pacific, 27 per cent from North America and 22 per cent from EMEA.
But this will shift dramatically by 2009, when much more revenue is expected to be generated in EMEA.
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