Thu, Jul 30, 2009 - Page 11 News List

WiMAX to buck trend as sector production suffers

FORECAST: A government-funded institute said that efforts by networking companies to increase investment and base-station deployment would boost WiMAX sales

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The production value of Taiwan’s wireless communications sector is expected to amount to NT$106.2 billion (US$3.24 billion) this year, down 14.4 percent from last year, according to a forecast by the Institute for Information Industry (III).

The output of the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) sector is likely to buck this downward trend, however, driven by stable growth in emerging-market economies, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) under the government-funded III.

The MIC said that small WiMAX networking companies will remain the sector’s major clients and provide a stable revenue stream for Taiwanese WiMAX manufacturers in the second half of the year.

The MIC predicted that continuing efforts by networking companies, including in India and North America, to increase overall investment and deployment of base stations will also boost Taiwan’s shipments of WiMAX customer-premises equipment (CPE) in the second half of this year.

In terms of wireless local area network (WLAN), the MIC said the 802.11n modulation standard would replace the 802.11g standard as the prices of 802.11n products fall.

As to mobile phones, Taiwan shipped 38.5 million handsets in the first half of the year, with feature phones and smart phones accounting for 59 percent and 41 percent of the total respectively, the MIC said.

The ratios changed markedly from the same period last year, when feature phones accounted for 74 percent of shipments, and this may signify structural changes in the industry, the MIC said.

While the increase in smart phone shipments would significantly raise the production value and average selling prices for Taiwan’s mobile phone industry, the change also poses a challenge to feature phone manufacturers, the MIC said.

The institute predicted that Taiwan would ship 28 million feature phones this year, representing a 27 percent decline in production value, because of weak sales among contract customers such as Motorola and Sony Ericsson.

Production value and shipments of smart phones, however, were likely to rise 16 percent and 16.5 percent respectively this year thanks to the launch of new models by Apple and Palm, the MIC said.

It predicted that the average selling price of smart phones would reach US$150.

In the second half of the year alone, Taiwan is likely to ship 23 million smart phones, up 44 percent from the first half, the MIC said.

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