Smart Feature Phone could be next driving force in the mobile phone industry, well, that’s what recent Counterpoint research report suggests. ‘Over the next three years, nearly 370 million smart feature phones are expected to be sold across the world,’ says the counterpoint report.

The Smart Feature phone would feature high-speed internet, apps and services and in doing so, open a whole host of new business and revenue opportunities. These affordable phones could fill a huge void in the mobile value chain.

According to Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research the sales forecast of smart feature phones could be around US$28 billion over the next three years. Besides the smartphone market, the software & services sector could contribute to 71% of this revenue opportunity, which would be around US$20 billion.

The major frenzy around the smart feature phones is the internet connectivity with customized application and services ecosystem. These coupled with the easy user interface and comfy form factor has its appeal. A major portion of all emerging markets suffers from poverty and computer-illiteracy. People who aren’t savvy with smartphones can use them to explore the digital realm.

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The beneficiaries include both the smartphone manufacturers as well as the network operators. An example for the former would be Reliance whose Jio Phone is the world’s leading smart feature phone. Now coming to the latter, they would benefit out of customer transfer to a more efficient network (For eg. 4G). Now, they can generate data revenues increasing their average revenue per user (ARPU).

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“Perhaps the biggest benefit of 4G smart feature phone adoption for operators is the opportunity to accelerate the adoption of more efficient technologies with much lower cost/bit metrics with users on 4G/5G networks than on 2G/3G networks. Further, operators have the potential to drive voice as well as data revenues and, in the process, increase the 4G ARPU. It will help operators achieve a return on 4G equipment and network rollouts. We estimate close to US$ 15 Billion in connectivity service revenues will be generated, cumulatively, between 2019 and 2021,” says Varun Mishra, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

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