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Press Release

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7th November, 2001
Mobile phones, PDAs and Headsets will be the early Bluetooth Drivers

The market for Bluetooth mobile handsets will grow from 1.5m devices this year to 26.2m in 2002, and will reach almost 100m in 2003. Globally, the Bluetooth handset market is set to really take-off from 2003, when volume production of chips and the introduction of 3G networks combine to boost the Bluetooth handset market.

A new report from ARC Group entitled ‘Bluetooth – Personal Area Networks’ predicts continued growth through 2004 as increasing numbers of handsets and operators support the technology. By 2006, ARC Group estimates that 779.7m handsets sold will be Bluetooth enabled, which represents 71% of devices sold in that year.

Bluetooth Handsets (m), 2001-2006


Source: ARC Group

Report author, Karen Walsh says, “Bluetooth has arrived to benefit from the final arrival of faster more data centric networks, which will enable more sophisticated applications and ignite the handset market, by providing a compelling reason for mobile customers to replace their handsets. The technology will be instrumental in facilitating consumer interest in handset renewal and the uptake of even more sophisticated data services, which in turn will lead to increased data traffic and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). Combined GPRS/Bluetooth handsets will allow consumers to bridge between the internet and their personal, portable devices, providing wireless mobility with real benefits. The introduction of 3G, with its faster wide-area network connection, will increase the value of Bluetooth mobile phones, the installed base of devices, and help to provide new opportunities for all the players in the Bluetooth value chain, including mobile operators and service providers.”

However, mobile phones are not likely to drive the market for Bluetooth on their own, as this is a market that will benefit from the network effect. PDAs/HPCs will play a big role in early Bluetooth adoption, especially among professional users. But these mobile computing devices will be available with integrated Bluetooth in much smaller percentage rates than mobile phones. Rather the majority of PDAs/HPCs will become Bluetooth enabled through adapter products such as compact flash cards, clip on devices and Bluetooth sleeves.

Bluetooth PDAs/HPCs with will also help to drive the early markets for gaming, music and imaging. The market for these application-specific devices is still in its infancy and will only really begin to develop in significant numbers when there is an installed base of Bluetooth devices such as phones, headsets, PDA/HPC and USB adapters. ARC Group also believes that the introduction of 3G networks will help drive these application-specific markets for Bluetooth devices, as users will benefit from faster networks and more sophisticated applications. Java will also help to drive the market for new Bluetooth applications, as it will be installed in the same personal, portable devices as Bluetooth and will allow users to download applications specific to their needs in a dynamic fashion.

Another driving force in the early market for Bluetooth, as it moves from technology to commercialisation, is the wireless headset. Bluetooth headsets provide one of the simplest, most tangible usage scenarios for Bluetooth, and have the potential to bring wireless headsets to the mass market. ARC Group estimates this will be a huge market for Bluetooth, growing from 5.8m devices next year to over 158m in 2006.

One of the reasons the headset market will grow so strongly is that these devices will crossover between the corporate and consumer worlds, helping Bluetooth move towards the mass market. Headsets are a simple, albeit fairly uninteresting, application for Bluetooth and the usage model for hands-free telephony already exists in a wired form, and users are familiar with using wired headphones for listening to music, while playing games, etc. Removing the wires from headphones and headsets offers clear benefits to users, and Bluetooth headsets are likely to be adopted quickly as chip volumes go up, competition increases, and established headset manufacturers enter the market with Bluetooth models.

          Key applications, their take-up and development

          New opportunities and revenue streams for operators, device manufacturers and       application developers

          Comprehensive market forecasts by technology and region to 2006 including:

          Bluetooth handset, PDA/HPC, and headset forecasts

          Bluetooth application-specific device forecasts

          Mobile subscriber and mobile data user forecasts

          Learn from current Bluetooth activities in Europe, Asia and North America including Classwave Wireless, Ericsson, Norwood Systems, Red-M, TDK Systems and Texas Instruments

         How and when Bluetooth will be deployed by manufacturers and service providers worldwide

  …and much more  

For more information about this report, contact Alex Noonoo on +44 (0) 1483 571 589 or email alex.noonoo@arcgroup.com


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Copyright 2001-2003 WTIS Ltd, Wireless Telecommunications  Information & Services  
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Last modified: Wednesday December 03, 2003.

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