Smartphones sales tipped to reach 1bn mark in 2013

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Business

Smartphone sales are set to reach the one billion mark for the first time in 2013, it has been forecast.

Big Four professional services firm Deloitte expects shipment growth to continue over the next 12 months as more businesses and consumers purchase mobile devices, reports the Guardian.

The firm believes smartphones will become a "mass market phenomenon" and an everyday object around the world - enabling people to do much more on the move.

By the end of 2013, Deloitte expects there to be more than two billion smartphones with a touch screen or alphabet keyboard in use around the globe.

New users will be attracted by falling prices and improved network quality and coverage, the firm predicts.

In the UK, the rollout of 4G broadband is set to increase the attraction of smartphones for many professional people and other consumers.

Broadband provider EE is already offering super-fast mobile broadband to smartphone users in a number of cities around the UK.

And once media regulator Ofcom has auctioned off spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands, rival operators will be able to offer similar services.

This means smartphone users around the UK should be able to benefit from wider coverage, faster download speeds, and better quality and network reliability by mid-2013.

For businesspeople in particular, this may make a major difference.

Smartphones are increasingly being used to support mobile working, with users able to access company files, documents and applications on their handsets via the internet.

When 4G goes nationwide, there will be fewer notspots and slowspots where they are unable to hold a network connection, allowing a more seamless working experience.

However, the Deloitte report noted that not everyone will use their smartphone in the same way.

Indeed, the firm discovered that as many as one in five device owners rarely or never connects to the internet, preferring to just use the voice and text features of their smartphone.

"They are like [traditional] feature phones in a smartphone casing," noted Paul Lee, Deloitte telecoms research head.

"Smartphone penetration goes up but data plan penetration doesn't go up as quickly. Not every mobile will be used in the same way."

Posted by Alex Boardman