Commercial Market

First Quarter 1999 US Electronics Factory Sales Rise 7.4 Percent

The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) reports that US factory sales of electronics equipment rose to nearly $126 B for the first quarter of 1999, a 7.4 percent increase over sales in the first quarter of 1998. The Telecommunications sector growth led all others with 1999 sales of $20.3 B, representing a 15 percent increase over 1998's first quarter total of $17.7 B. This performance was closely followed by a 14.2 percent increase in the Other Related Products sector, whose sales rose from $17.8 B in the first quarter of 1998 to $20.3 B in the first quarter of 1999. Electronic Components enjoyed a 5.5 percent increase from $36.4 B in 1998's first quarter to $38.4 B this year. Defense Communications continued to improve its position in the overall business with a fourth-place 4.9 percent increase in 1999 shipments to $8.1 B from $7.7 B in 1998's opening quarter. Shipments of Computers & Peripherals improved 4.7 percent to $24.4 B, the Electromedical Equipment sector grew by 4.3 percent to $3.2 B and Consumer Electronics shipments rose 2.2 percent to $2.3 B. Industrial Electronics shipments suffered the only shrinkage with sales that fell 1.5 percent from $9.2 B to an even $9 B.

Study Forecasts a $14 B GPS Market by 2005

According to Allied Business Intelligence, the emergence of significant commercial usage of Global Positioning System (GPS) services will expand the total market for those services to $14 B by 2005. In the process, US dominance of the market, estimated to be 65 percent in 1999, is expected to drop to 50 percent as off-shore production of GPS equipment increases during the period.

In the US, the two major applications of GPS, surveying and reference timing and small craft navigation, hardly comprise a mass market. Japan, by comparison, is already making widespread use of In-vehicle Navigation Systems (INVS). There is movement in the US to extend the installation of INVS from rental and luxury to mid-priced vehicles, and it should become an available option on most domestic cars and trucks within a few years. With prices for basic equipment now as low as $200, INVS is expected to account for one-third of the world market for GPS by 2005.

GPS receivers employing new small, low power microchips are practical additions to cellular and PCS telephones and other personal communications devices, and their capability is an attractive adjunct to the enhanced 911 capabilities being mandated for new mobile phones. With a telephone market expected to reach hundreds of millions over the next five years, GPS communications applications are forecast to account for more than 20 percent of the entire market by 2005.

Vehicle/freight tracking equipment is expected to continue to make a significant contribution to GPS market growth. One of the most promising applications involves mobile units combining bar-code readers with GPS-equipped wireless local area network transceivers, which will be able to track freight economically at local levels and improve its flow. Details of the study can be found at For additional information, contact Allied Business Intelligence (516) 624-3113.

North American GSM Alliance Reviews GSM Growth in Its Region

The North American GSM Alliance has announced that the number of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) wireless digital telephone users in the US and Canada has reached 3.6 million. More than 600,000 of these customers were added during the first quarter of 1999 to the customer bases of North American GSM service providers operating in 3500 cities in 45 US states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces. In the past six months, nearly 1.5 million customers have been added to the rolls of the 17 North American GSM companies providing commercial service. In addition, commercial service was added to 1000 cities during the first quarter alone.

Presently, seven of the 10 largest PCS carriers provide GSM service; commercial GSM now serves eight of the top 10 markets. Reaching 162 million people in North America, GSM covers more than 52 percent of the Canadian population and nearly 62 percent of the US population with more than 11,500 cell sites in the region. Worldwide, GSM customers totaled 160 million, 45 percent of the world's wireless market and 62 percent of its digital market. The GSM Alliance represents 347 GSM, satellite and 3G network operators, regulators and administrative bodies from 137 countries.

Studies Forecast Wireless Broadband Services Growth

Two recently released studies, "Wireless Broadband 99: Fixed Access Delivery Method and Marketplaces" from Allied Business Intelligence and "World Wireless Broadband: LMDS, MMDS and Broadband WLL" from The Strategis Group, forecast the growth in the demand for wireless broadband services through 2009. The Allied Business Intelligence study covers the prospects for LMDS, MMDS, satellite system, 38 GHz and fixed wireless technologies, and forecasts the growth of the fewer than 100,000 wireless broadband subscribers in 1988 to over four million by 2004. At that level, wireless subscribers would account for close to 20 percent of the total broadband market. The study expects that the relatively high cost of wireless broadband equipment will limit its consumer market but have little effect on the expansion of its business applications. It also suggests that wireline technologies may well be better suited to consumer use. To achieve the growth believed possible, wireless providers will have to become recognized and establish the channels to distribute their services. The initiation of LMDS and 38 GHz services in 1998 and 1999 is considered a strong base from which to serve the expected growing demand for the service. For additional information, contact Allied Business Intelligence (516) 624-3113.

According to The Strategis Group report, worldwide broadband service revenues from fixed terrestrial wireless systems are expected to approach $10 B in five years and $28 B in 10 years. The growth of wireless broadband in the local access market is forecast to play a significant role in that increase. Urban businesses without fiber access are expected to lead the demand for wireless high speed data and Internet access over the next five to 10 years. Among others, the study identifies developing countries like Brazil and Poland (where broadband access costs are high and wireline infrastructure limited) as bright prospects for wireless broadband service. The report also provides an in-depth look at the current state of broadband wireless access in 39 countries and projects the market through 2009. For additional information, contact Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, The Strategis Group (202) 530-7544 or

Web Service Tracks New Telecom Service Providers in Western Europe

Analysys ( has launched a fully interactive Web service tracking new entrants to the Western European fixed telephony market. The site ( is updated quarterly and features profiles of more than 300 new entrants across 16 countries and contact details for another 500 companies. Former monopoly owners are also profiled. In addition, the site includes operator benchmarks for comparing and contrasting key financial and operational statistics for the major new and incumbent network operators. A quarterly market trend report, an overview of key European telecom regulations, pricing trends, and country profiles and market data for 16 countries are also provided.