Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Motorola expects handset sales to rise by up to 10 percent

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A model displays Motorola's new A780 smart phone yesterday. The company plans to launch more than 30 new models next year, 20 to 30 percent of which will be smart phones, in the belief that smart phones with value-added features such as high-resolution screens, as well as MP3, WiFi and Push-to-Talk functions, will be the mainstream in the market next year.

PHOTO: WANG YI-HUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Motorola Inc, the world's No. 3 mobile phone vendor, expects handset sales in Taiwan to grow by up to 10 percent next year, helped by replacement demand after local operators launch high-speed next-generation services, a company official said yesterday.

Taiwan's mobile service carriers, led by Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), are scheduled to roll out so-called third-generation (3G) services in the second quarter of next year, after a series of delays.

The services allow more data to be transmitted at a faster pace.

"We believe the new 3G service will lift Taiwan's handset sales next year. We're seeing the move to faster 3G services growing in Taiwan, after Hong Kong and Europe," said Tom Hsiao (蕭承統), a general manager of Motorola's Taiwan branch.

Motorola is currently the biggest handset vendor in Taiwan, ahead of its larger rivals Nokia Oyj and Samsung Electronics Co.

Hsiao said cellphone sales in Taiwan, a saturated market, will have a good chance of climbing by a rare five percent to 10 percent next year, up from an estimated 6.5 million units expected to be sold this year.

According to projections by the Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所), global handset sales will grow to 6.79 billion units next year, from 6.30 billion units this year. As camera phones spurred massive replacement this year, annual growth is estimated at 20 percent.

For next year, Taiwan's annual growth is expected to be largely in line with the global market's pace of 7 percent expansion, the Taipei-based researcher said, boosted by demand for 3G handsets.

In Taiwan, the appetite for 3G phones is expected to lure 300,000 to 500,000 early adopters to replace their 2G phones, Hsiao said. In other words, 3G models will make up about 8 percent of total mobile phones sold next year, he added.

To cater to local replacement demand, the US mobile phone giant plans to introduce six 3G models next year, which will account for one-fifth of Motorola's 30 models planned for next year.

Marty Kung (龔俊光), an analyst with the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心), however, does not expect 3G to significantly boost handset sales next year as pricier handsets and high data transmission tariffs will curb the growth of 3G adoption.

Taiwan's cellphone sales will remain almost flat at around 6.6 million units next year, slightly up from his estimate of 6.5 million for this year, Kung said.

Apart from 3G handsets, other driving forces are handsets with new features such as walkie-talkie-like push-to-talk functions, or phones enabling users to switch between GPRS and Wi-Fi networks, the Motorola executive said.

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