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Wi-Fi Phone VoWLAN Market Forecast

The worldwide WiFi phone market jumped 76 percent between 2004 and 2005 to $102.5 million, and is projected to more than double in 2006 as enterprises slowly but steadily continue deploying voice over wireless LANs, according to Infonetics Research's latest report, WiFi Phones Biannual Worldwide Market Share and Forecast.

Healthy VoWLAN growth is projected through 2009, when WiFi phone revenue will hit almost $1.9 billion. Initially an enterprise application, VoWLAN will eventually become popular with consumers too, and has potential for enormous growth as part of a VoIP service bundled with broadband connections.

"The enterprise telephony market is undergoing a transition from circuit-based to packet switching, because organizations have extensive data networks that can potentially be used for telephony, eliminating the need for separate voice and data networks," said Richard Webb, analyst for wireless broadband at Infonetics Research. "Voice makes wireless LANs more desirable and mobility makes VoIP more valuable; it is natural that they are converging into a powerful enterprise mobile voice solution."

Report Highlights:

- WiFi phone units grew 112 percent between 2004 and 2005 and will grow 158 percent in 2006
- Roughly 2/3 of WiFi phone revenue came from single-mode WiFi VoIP handsets in 2005, about a third from dual-mode handsets; by 2009, dual-mode handsets make up 3/4 of total revenue
- 52 percent of dual-mode WiFi/cellular handset revenue came from Asia Pacific in 2005, 25 percent from North America, 21 percent EMEA, 2 percent CALA
- 802.11e QoS was standardized in late 2005, and will generate a new round of product releases and renewed promotion of real-time applications such as voice and video over wireless LANs

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