Global mobile phone shipments to reach 2.2 billion units by 2017, feature phones set to plunge

Global annual mobile phone shipments will grow at a CAGR of 5.5 percent between 2011 and 2017, reaching 2.2 billion units.

Ovum predicts that smartphones will surpass the overall market for mobile phones, growing at a CAGR of 21.0 percent between 2011 and 2017 to reach 1.7 billion units. This will account for 77 percent of the overall mobile phone market globally in 2017.

Ovum says that feature phones will continue to play a small role in emerging markets in 2017. Meanwhile, feature phone shipments will plunge to 0.5 billion by 2017.

The market analysis firm says that the primary growth driver will be demand from emerging markets, where connection growth will continue to fuel handset shipments.

The secondary growth driver will be the migration from narrowband networks such as GPRS, EDGE, GSM, and CDMA2000 1xRTT to mobile broadband networks like WCDMA, HSPA, LTE, TD-SCDMA, CDMA2000 EV-DO, and Mobile WiMAX.

The firm suggests that the migration will have an impact in all geographic regions. The migration will be aided by the increasing adoption of smartphones and it will happen at a faster rate in mature markets.

According to Ovum, Android will dominate the smartphone market over the next five years. Smartphones based on Android accounted for 44 percent of the smartphone market in 2011, which was an increase from 17 percent in 2010.

Ovum estimates that Android-based smartphones will grow at a CAGR of 22.6 percent over the forecast period, and will account for 48 percent of the smartphone market in 2017.

The growth of Android-based samrtphones will be driven by the large number of handset vendors using Android as their primary smartphone platform.

Apple's iOS will be the second most widely deployed software platform in 2017, accounting for 27 percent of the smartphone market. This is an increase over the 23 percent share of the market it reported in 2011.

Despite its slow start, Ovum predicts that Microsoft will have established Windows Phone as a relevant smartphone platform by 2017.

The Windows Phone platform, with the assistance of Nokia, will account for 13 percent of the smartphone market in 2017. Despite losing significant market share since its high point in 2009, RIM's BlackBerry platform will still represent 10 percent of the market in 2017.

According to ABI Research, low-cost OEMs that are shifting to smartphones, such as Huawei and ZTE, will be a key driving factor for the growth and innovation in the sub-$150 smartphone segment. Low-cost smartphones will grow from 45 million shipments in 2012 to 170 million in 2016.