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Wi-Fi Handsets Doomed Within Five Years?

The U.K. market research firm Juniper Research might be putting the kibish on Cisco’s version of the iPhone, while tacitly giving Apple’s iPhone a shot at a rosier future. In a new research repert, Juniper forecasts the worldwide market for VoIP-over-Wi-Fi equipment will expand to some $82 million by 2012, with the North American market accounting for some $35 billion of that revenue. However, while dual mode handsets which can connect to both cellular and Wi-Fi networks will enjoy wide market adoption, single-mode VoIP handsets which only offer services via Wi-Fi will be shunted to the margins, accounting for only $1.5 billion of 2012’s $82 billion in revenue, or just 1.5 percent of the overall market.

“The dual mode handset market will pick up much faster in the coming years than the single mode Wi-Fi handset sector,” said Basharat Hamid Ashai, the report’s author. “The handset market is moving to a stage where no one wants to carry two or three devices in their pocket, so the ability to have a single device for all calls is a compelling proposition. Most single mode VoIP over Wi-Fi handset manufactures are actively either designing or planning to ship dual mode phones”.

Although North America is estimated to account for about 43 percent of the VoIP-over-Wi-Fi market in 2012, the report predicts Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will account fo 28 percent of the market, with the Asia Pacific region accounting for almost 26 percent.

The report also forecasts growth of wireless mesh technology for VoIP services, describing mesh networks as “in their infancy” but noting “this market will be ripe for wireless VOIP during the coming years. VOIP using Wireless Mesh will be a key move.”