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Mobile Phone Handset with Wi-Fi Forecast

Converged Wi-Fi/Cellular mobile handsets are expected to make a big splash, reports In-Stat. By 2010, shipments of cellular handsets containing Wi-Fi will exceed 132 million devices. Carriers have been reluctant to offer Wi-Fi capable handsets for several reasons, but Wi-Fi has spread so fast that carriers will not be able to resist much longer.

"In the end, most U.S. cellular carriers will embrace Wi-Fi in their handsets, as carriers know that if they don't, other carriers will, and these carriers will likely steal away some of their customers," says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. Combo mobile handsets also offer carriers opportunities to provide services such as VoIP over Wi-Fi, lessening impact on their cellular data system.

In-Stat found the following:

- More than 20 cellular handset models now have, or will soon be, released with embedded Wi-Fi access.
- A few cellular carriers are planning to offer services that support voice calls over both cellular and Wi-Fi, and some Wi-Fi/Cellular handsets are incorporating VoIP clients for services like Skype.
- It had been assumed that business customers would be first to adopt Wi-Fi/Cellular handsets, but in fact consumers are likely to be more receptive to early adoption of the technology.

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