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Momentum continues to build for mobile device management, claims Ovum

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Penetration of all mobile device management (MDM) technologies in handsets is growing strongly globally, according to global advisory and consulting firm Ovum's latest quarterly report.

According to Ovum, growing support for advanced mobile device management technologies in mobile handsets promises to give the mobile service provider a much increased degree of control over the device fleet. Key applications of MDM include remote configuration, defect fixing, diagnostics and software management.

The results of Ovum's study are the outcome of a comprehensive survey of mobile handsets launched globally over the past four years, feeding into a repository of nearly 900 handsets from all major manufacturers and listing their key characteristics, including support for FOTA, OMA CP and OMA DM, plus their date of launch and regional availability.

Results show that between 4Q06 and 4Q07, global shipments grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83% (for firmware over-the-air update), 51% (for OMA client provisioning) and 159% (for OMA device management).

Ovum has tracked penetration of three key MDM technologies throughout 2007: OMA client provisioning (OMA CP), OMA device management (OMA DM) and firmware over-the-air (FOTA) update.  The study reveals that in 4Q07 OMA DM was supported in nearly one-third of all handsets now shipping worldwide.

Adam Leach, lead principal analyst at Ovum and author of the report said: "It is crucial for service providers to understand the penetration of key enabling technologies in order to decide whether and when they should be scaling up the use of MDM in their businesses. What is clear is that we are now at a critical point in terms of adoption of this key technology. Service providers looking to offer device management services based on OMA DM should find they have a good choice of handsets across a range of price points."

Ovum forecasts continued strong growth for all MDM technologies globally; by the end of 2008 Ovum expects OMA DM and FOTA, will reach 44% and 57% respectively, of global shipments.By the end of 2009 they will be an established part of the handset technology landscape, with penetration in over half the installed base of handsets and in 84% and 69% respectively, of new mobile phone shipments.

"Firmware updating is by no means the only application of OMA DM that service providers are interested in. OMA DM is already being used for more sophisticated types of device configuration than OMA CP is capable of, such as continuous provisioning in conjunction with automatic detection. It is handling client provisioning for new value-added services being offered by operators, and supporting important commercial functionality such as preferred roaming lists," says Leach.

As the OMA finalises more standardised management objects, such as those for software updating and diagnostics, the relevance of OMA DM will continue to grow for all service providers, says Ovum.