Smartphones to make up over half of Asian sales by 2015

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The Independent Tech

Smartphones will make up over half of Asian mobile phone sales by 2015, with 477 million units likely to be sold, an industry report said Monday.

Consultancy Frost and Sullivan said smartphones would account for 54 percent of the Asia-Pacific mobile market in five years, up sharply from five percent in 2009.

The sharp take-up rate for smartphones will be a huge revenue boost for telecom operators as it means a surge in demand for data services, the consultancy said.

Smartphones are high-end mobile devices providing faster access to data connections such as e-mail and Internet browsing than so-called feature phones, which have less computing ability.

Subscribers usually pay more for mobile data services, translating into higher average revenue per user (ARPU) for operators keen to make up for flat or declining earnings growth from feature phones.

"Smartphones are critical to every operator's mobile broadband business case, as a smartphone user's ARPU typically increased by 25 to 100 percent after adoption depending on the market," said Marc Einstein, the consultancy's industry manager.

"The Asia-Pacific market is particularly interesting for smartphones as there has been significant uptake in emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia, even among prepaid users," he said in the report.

Apple's phenomenally popular iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry, a favourite with corporate users, are largely credited with sparking consumer interest in smartphones in the last few years.

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