Radio FM Chip in Smartphone Data

FM CHIP IN SMARTPHONE DATA

NABA is tracking the penetration of FM chips in smartphones for the North American market. Working with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and using sales data compiled by research and consulting firm ABI Research, this data shows the extent of FM chip penetration in the top-selling smartphones for Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. on a quarterly basis.

As demonstrated by this data, most of the top-selling smartphones in all three countries include an FM chip which means that these devices can receive free, over-the-air FM radio signals, depending upon whether the FM chip is activated in the device. For a variety of reasons, these FM chips are often not activated, most notably in all of Apple’s iPhone products (which are top sellers in Canada and the US). Broadcasters are working with smartphone device manufacturers and cellular carriers to increase the number of models that have the FM chip activated so that more consumers have access to FM radio on their smartphones.

DATA SUMMARY

Over the six quarters that this project has run, we have noticed the following:

  • Phones with FM chips activated are numerous in all three countries, especially in Mexico;
  • There are some phones with no FM chip but they are a very small percentage and there is no trend for this increasing;
  • In Canada and the US, we have seen virtually all of the phones with FM chips installed but not activated become 100% iPhones;
  • We noticed a surge in iPhone sales in 4Q 2016 in Canada and the US (with the release of the iPhone 7) which skewed the percentage results of FM chips activated in Android phones (the percentages dropped quite a bit, but the number of Android phones with FM chips actually increased that quarter).

To compile this data, quarterly smartphone sales are studied by device model to determine the top-selling devices, and then these devices are analyzed, often by doing a “tear-down” of the phone, to establish the level of FM chip activation based upon these five categories:

CATEGORY DEFINITION
FM chip activated FM chip is activated by at least one major carrier in the applicable country. Headset cord use is required since headset cord acts as FM antenna (audio is typically available either from smartphone speakers or headset).
FM chip easily activated FM chip is activated on the same model in another country or on a model from another mainstream carrier in that country, so no hardware changes would likely be required to activate in this country.
FM chip installed, not activated FM chip is included in these smartphones but either a hardware or software modification would be required to activate the FM chip.
Unknown Insufficient data on smartphone to be able to establish whether FM chip is installed.
No FM chip FM chip not included in smartphone

HAVE QUESTIONS?

For more information on broadcaster’s efforts to increase the activation of FM chips in smartphones go to here (in Canada) or here (in the US). For more information on FM chip in smartphone penetration in the U.S. go to here.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.

Source – ABI Research and PILOT

Note that this data represents a sampling of the smartphone market and, while an accurate representation of that sampling, this is not a full market analysis.