Mobile users tune into GPS

Mobile users tune into GPS

Shipments of GPS-enabled handsets to quadruple by 2011

Global shipments of GPS-enabled mobile phones are expected to more than quadruple between 2006 and 2011, market watchers predict.

Research firm iSuppli said that GPS mobile handset shipments will jump from 109.6 million units in 2006 to 444 million units by 2011.

Nearly 30 per cent of all mobile phones shipped by 2011 will have GPS capability, up from 11.1 per cent in 2006.

"Besides cameras, multimedia capabilities and connectivity solutions, mobile handset OEMs are investigating the integration of GPS functionality as a value-added product differentiator," said Tina Teng, a wireless communications analyst at iSuppli.

"Wireless carriers are also looking at introducing various GPS-based, revenue generating services to increase average revenue per user."

US government mandates are also driving the expansion of the GPS-enabled handset market in the US.

The Federal Communications Commission issued a report in 1996 requiring all operators to locate the position of wireless callers making emergency 911 calls.

Qualcomm, the dominant supplier of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, began to integrate GPS processors into its digital baseband semiconductors in 2000.

The company always ensures that its CDMA network infrastructure products support the functionalities that its digital basebands deliver, including GPS.

Because of this, the CDMA-dominated nations of the US and South Korea are expected to be the leading regions for GPS-enabled mobile handsets, according to iSuppli.

Europe is expected to be the next largest GPS-enabled handset market as the functionality penetrates into smartphones.

A Nokia smartphone with GPS capability was the top model purchased on O2's website in September 2007.