Video phone sales to double by 2010


BRUSSELS -- Global sales of mobile video phones are expected to more than double from 2006 to 2010, according to a new report by market research firm Infonetics Research. Sales of mobile video phones hit close to $58 billion worldwide in 2006, but the report said they will reach nearly $125 billion by 2010.

It also forecasts an explosive growth in mobile video subscribers, jumping from a few million in 2006 to 58.6 million in 2010. Drivers for this strong growth include increasingly powerful and efficient phones and the analog broadcast signal switch-offs.

"Despite some concerns around the business plan and subscriber take rates, major service providers continue to move forward with their mobile video network rollouts," Infonetics analyst Jeff Heynen said. "They're taking advantage of spectrum availability, thanks to the switch-off of analog TV broadcasting networks, and the pressure to get services rolled out before next year's summer Olympics in Beijing and the European soccer championship."

Heynen said governments were lining up behind mobile video technologies to help facilitate deployments: He pointed to the EU's endorsement of Nokia's DVB-H and the Chinese government's sponsorship of China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) as the two most visible efforts.

However, no clear winner will emerge amongst the competing mobile broadcasting technologies: Infonetics estimates there will be 11.7 million DVB-H subscribers by 2010, but a still substantial 6 million subscribers to the MediaFLO mobile TV service.

The report also said that worldwide service provider revenue from mobile video services should triple this year, compared with 2006 -- and is forecast to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 135% through 2010.

And it identifies Europe as the leading region for mobile video service revenue in 2006, accounting for 42% of the worldwide total. Asia Pacific accounted for 35%, North America 16% and Central and Latin America, 7%. But Asia Pacific will be the regional stronghold of mobile video subscribers through at least 2010, with 53% of the world total in 2006, followed by Europe at 27%, and North America at 13%.