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M2M market to eclipse cell-phone sales

OYSTER BAY, New York-Although industry watchers continue to predict the mobile-phone market will see massive growth during the next several years, the machine-to-machine industry is growing at an even faster rate, according to research from consulting firm Allied Business Intelligence.

ABI said the market for cellular handsets is predicted to grow 10 percent annually through the end of the decade, while the M2M market will grow a staggering 40 percent annually. Indeed, the firm said Siemens AG, the current market leader in M2M modules, is already selling one M2M module for every three mobile phones.

“At this rate, Siemens could be shipping more M2M modules than handsets in just a few years,” said Erik Michielsen, principal analyst at ABI Research.

The M2M market includes tiny radio modules supporting either GPRS or CDMA networks that are built in to a variety of other devices, from automobiles to utility monitors. Players in the market, such as Sony Ericsson and Wavecom, have long discussed the massive market potential, and even Japanese wireless giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. several years ago predicted the M2M market would eclipse the mobile-phone market by 2010.

ABI said the most popular M2M application is home security, while electronic meter reading, fleet management and automation are also growing.

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