Monday, October 17, 2005

Dean Bubley: Who Cares about Mobile Phone Volume Shipments?

Dean Bubley definitely has his blog on and is posting regularly at his new Disruptive Wireless blog. Let's hope he can keep it a regular thing because it's always nice to hear more viewpoints from the other side of the pond. Now if only analysts in Asia could chime in then that would be great.

Bubley asks "Why is it that the mobile phone industry (and its financial watchers) still clings to "volume market share" as such an important indicator?" He believes it's becoming an irrelevant stat as handset pricing ranges "from $30 to $1000."

Bubley point out that in the watch industry, manufacturers quote "revenue numbers rather than units." I agree since it makes little sense to compare the volume of mass-market Timex watches with high-end Patek Philippes. In terms of market growth, Bubley predicts:

cellphone market volumes to continue to rise, but predominantly at the low end. I'll make a bet that exhibitors at trade shows in 2009 will be giving away cute freebie branded phones with $2 prepaid credits, instead of mouse mats, coffee mugs or USB memory sticks. They'll start coming free in packets of cereal by 2015.
I hope I can get a Sprint PPC-6700 (HTC Aapche) as a booth tchotchke soon since I definitely have the jones for that phone and I can't wait until 2009 :-) Back in reality, maybe the phone industry can take a cue from the automotive biz. and break out sales by revenue, volume, brand and model. GM might be selling a lot of vehicles, but with all the discounting it's easy to figure out that BMW's lower volume is still a lot more profitable...