To reduce solution cost and footprint, chipset vendors are developing multi-radio chipsets that combine multiple connectivity technologies.
According to new a research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, WLAN will become the next prevalent connectivity technology in mass-market mobile handsets. The number of handsets with integrated WLAN is forecasted to grow from 27 million in 2007 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 71.5 percent to 400 million in 2012, corresponding to an attach rate of 25 percent. WLAN will primarily be used for high-speed Internet access in home or office networks and file transfer of for instance photos and media libraries. “Mobile operators no longer consider WLAN a threat against data revenues”, said André Malm, telecom analyst, Berg Insight. “As flat-rate plans for data access become the norm, encouraging subscribers to use a local Internet connection actually makes much sense as a way to prevent data overload in mobile networks.”
Berg Insight has a more cautious outlook for the adoption of other connectivity technologies such as NFC and UWB in mobile handsets. The number of handsets with integrated NFC or FeliCa is forecasted to grow from 35 million in 2007 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.8 percent to 215 million in 2012, corresponding to an attach rate of 13 percent. UWB is not expected to appear in significant volumes before 2010 and only be featured in 1 percent of the handsets shipped in 2012. Berg Insight recognises a significant potential for both technologies but believes that neither of them have yet become widespread enough to motivate integration in high-volume handsets. NFC is closest to achieving a breakthrough, which could be achieved as early as 2010 or 2011.
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