NEW YORK, NYGPS in the GSM mobile phone has always seemed to be a year away. But 2007 may be the year that it finally arrives, and 25 percent of WCDMA handsets will offer GPS by the end of 2008, according to a new study from ABI Research.

There are four important reasons for this, says ABI's principal analyst Alan Varghese. Varghese comments, "The first factor inducing vendors to include GPS is regulatory, that is, the mandates for emergency calling in the various regions. The second is competition: the CDMA carriers who have had GPS integrated in their handsets since 2002 have been turning on Location Based Services over the past year. A third is economic: carriers continue to look for ways to increase data ARPU and recoup some of their high licensing costs for 3G spectrum. Finally, there is consumers' need for portable navigation and other applications driven by location awareness capabilities in the network."

All of these driversas well as increased accuracy requirements, and the fact that existing network-based positioning technologies do not work as well for upcoming 3G and WCDMA cellular standardsare pushing GPS ICs into the handset.

ABI Research sees 2007 as the year that the GSM carriers will issue RFQs, and vendor selection and IC integration for the handset OEMs will take place.

ABI Research's study, GPS Semiconductors, discusses these issues in detail, examining market drivers for mobile-phone GPS, geographic variations, handset penetration rates, associated chip-set ASPs and revenues, LBS deployment schedules worldwide, and the implications of Galileo and other satellite constellations.