TOKYO Amid an apparent LCD crunch, there is suddenly a shortage of handsets in the U.S. market.
The apparent shortage ''is in the millions of units,'' said Matthew Hoffman, an analyst with SG Cowen Securities Corp., in a recent report.
''We have confirmed with multiple contacts at the distributor and handset OEM level that key U.S. operators are now scrambling to procure enough handsets to meet expected demand in the U.S. for 4Q07,'' Hoffman said. ''We expect this sudden change in the environment -- from excess to shortage, especially in GSM -- will be positive for handset pricing and unit sales in the short term.''
There are various reasons for the shortfall. ''There are conflicting stories about the reason for the tightening of supply,'' he said. ''One contact pointed to an issue with LCD supply.''
There also appears to be a shortfall of ''GSM channels.''
Some handset vendors are doing better than others. ''With Samsung's strong product line-up reportedly sold out for the next few months, we look for [Nokia and Motorola] to be in position to reap higher unit sales,'' he said.
''With supplies suddenly tighter, we expect OEMs to get more selective about mix. New models like the Motorola RAZR2 -- a device we have been lukewarm on -- may see increased interest as a result of the situation we see evolving in 4Q '07,'' he added.