Global cell phone market forecast upped for this year, China and LTE phones to blame

Global cell phone market forecast upped for this year, China and LTE phones to blame
Deutsche Bank changed its previous mobile phone sales forecast upwards, citing the huge amount of cheap phones from unlicensed manufacturers in China that are being sold, as well as doubling the previous forecasts for LTE phones sold in the US.

The mobile industry analysts at the bank first predicted about 3 million LTE-enabled handsets to be sold in the US, but as we enter the second half of the year, they are doubling this number, which is not shabby at all, considering Verizon only has a few LTE handsets on the market right now, and AT&T's LTE network is yet to come.

But the bulk of the increase in the global cell phone market forecast - from 1.58 to 1.68 billion phones sold - is coming from China. And where else, considering China hit 1 billion mobile subscriptions recently. Deutsche Bank says it underestimated the scope of "Shanzhai" phone sales, i.e. cheap $20 2G phones, or straight-out knockoffs from unlicensed Chinese manufacturers that are extremely popular with the citizenry in the region, especially as prepaid handsets.

The exact number of such devices floating in the mainland is impossible to predict, but the bank analysts met with people on the ground only to determine that the size of "Shanzhai" sales is much larger than previously thought, hence the global cell phone sales forecast upping.

As for our beloved smartphones, Deutsche Bank pins 30% growth compared to last year, to 423 million units, which is roughly a quarter of all phones sold. Of those 220 million will be Android handsets in various forms and sizes, 80 million iPhones, 70 million Nokias and 50 million BlackBerry devices.

It seems that Google's Eric Schmidt was right saying that the pie is getting bigger, so there will be room for everyone who is not too late to the smartphone party, which is exactly what Microsoft is betting on with Windows Phone. If the bank's estimates are correct, there will be roughly 1.2 billion users still to be converted to smartphones worldwide, and Redmond is hoping that some of them will reach out for the WP7 smartphone with the familiar Nokia logo at the top.

via GigaOM
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