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  • 16 April 2009 12:36

IDC: Smartphones Remain Recession-Proof as the Rest of the Australian Mobile Market Retreats

SYDNEY, 16 April 2009, Australia's mobile phone market declined 16.1% year-on-year (Y/Y) to just under 2.98 million units in 2008, however the converged device (smartphone) segment still grew by 7.6% Y/Y according to IDC’s Q4 2008 Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"The majority of the Y/Y decline in Q4 2008 was due to the unsustainable boom caused by Telstra's CDMA to Next G migration in Q4 2007, the actual effect of the slowing economy is less significant at this stage," said Mark Novosel, Market Analyst, Telecommunications at IDC.

As Australia's economy teeters on the edge of recession, the high-end of the converged device market is poised to take a hit throughout 2009, however more affordable mid-range converged devices should perform strongly as consumer demand for converged devices remains strong.

"Converged devices available around the $49 per month price-point should do well in 2009. It's difficult to imagine anyone giving up their mobile phone despite growing negativity in the economy, however, it is likely some consumers on higher plans will start cutting back on their mobile spend when it's time to renew their contract," adds Novosel.

Despite flow-on effects from the decline of the Australian dollar in the second half of 2008, resulting in increased device prices and decreased discounting, there is a growing portfolio of capable mid-range converged devices to tempt consumers.

The iPhone 3G hype from 2008 has largely faded, with shipments falling 26.9% Q/Q. Carriers around the world are cutting iPhone prices in the lead-up to an expected new iPhone announcement in the first half of 2009.

"iPhone 3G price cuts will inject some new life into the current model, however this is largely used to clear existing stock in anticipation of a product refresh," said Novosel.

IDC's Q408 Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker also revealed that:

· Converged device growth will continue. Converged device shipments are expected to grow by 7.8% in 2009, with growth largely coming from feature-rich midrange devices.

· HSDPA will reign supreme. In 2008, 44.6% of all mobile devices shipped were HSDPA capable, by the end of 2009 this will rise to 48.1%; with nearly three quarters (74.2%) of all mobiles shipped expected to be HSDPA capable in 2013.

· Nokia reclaims lost ground. Nokia has clawed back lost market share to finish Q408 with a market share of 51.3%, back above the symbolic 50% mark.

· RIM, Sony Ericsson end strongly. Established vendors RIM and Sony Ericsson have each performed strongly, with Y/Y increases of 88% and 54% respectively. RIM's Blackberry Bold continues to perform robustly, while Sony Ericsson continues to expand its portfolio and will launch Symbian Series 60 powered converged devices in 2009.

For further information on the findings contained in IDC's mobile phone tracker or to request an analyst briefing on this topic, please contact Sally Taylor-Phillips, Marketing Communications Manager at IDC on +61 2 9925 2234 or e-mail


For more information or an interview with the analyst, please contact Sally Taylor-Phillips, Marketing Communications Manager at IDC on +61 2 9925 2234 or e-mail

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends covering over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 44 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting or

About IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker provides some of the most detailed, timely and accurate data available in the industry on over 75 of the largest mobile phone vendors in the world. In Australia, IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker covers all vendors that ship to Australia through regular primary research. IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker is available across seven regions and over 30 countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

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