News Scan: VoLTE spending on the rise; Apple, Samsung lead semiconductor purchasers; more

>> VoLTE spending to bolster voice equipment spending

Spending on voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is expected to "stabilize" voice equipment revenues, predicts Dell'Oro Group. "We expect that cumulative revenue generated from newer session border controller, voice application servers and IP multimedia subsystem core systems will far exceed that from more mature softswitch, media gateway and mobile switching center systems over the next five years," says Chris DePuy, vice president at Dell'Oro Group. Read more on VoLTE spending.

[More on VoLTE: VoLTE deployment to spur investments by firms, mobile operators | VoLTE gets charge from SBCs]

>> Apple, Samsung lead purchases of semiconductor chips

Apple and Samsung were the top purchasers of semiconductor chips last year, according to IHS Technology. The two firms made up 14 percent, or $33.2 billion, of total spending in 2013, well ahead of Hewlett-Packard in third place, with $10.1 billion in spending, Lenovo in fourth, with $9.2 billion and Dell in fifth, with $7.7 billion. Other firms in the top 10 include Cisco, Sony, Huawei, Panasonic and Toshiba. Altogether, the served available market for semiconductor spending reached $237.2 billion in 2013, up nearly 5 percent from $226.7 billion in 2012, according to IHS. Read more on semiconductor spending.

[More on semiconductors: TechNavio: Mobile device semiconductors, touch panel displays to see healthy growth | Semiconductor market poised for rebound, say research firms]

>> Bluetooth to drive growth in mobile commerce, IoT

Bluetooth low energy, or BLE, technology will drive growth in mobile commerce and the Internet of Things, predicts Informa Telecoms & Media. In mobile commerce, Apple's iBeacon, PayPal's Beacon and other BLE services are expected to become widespread. The ecosystem of hardware and service providers around the BLE technology in iOS and Android devices will grow as well. BLE's ability to deliver a "more effortless and truly contactless way of paying in-store makes it a particularly compelling technology--and a potential NFC [near-field communications] killer," says Informa. Read more on BLE.

[More on mobile commerce: Citi exec sounds NFC battle cry, others claim it's a whimper | Infographic: Smartphones are 'critical' shopping tool, says IDC survey]

>> Majority of consumers have heard of wearable devices

A majority of consumers surveyed by NPD said they have heard of wearable devices, such as smartglasses, smartwatches and fitness tracking devices. Of those who have heard of wearable tech devices, one in three say they plan to buy one. Even though smartglasses are not yet available for sale to the general public, 29 percent of consumers are aware of them. Of those, one in five expect to buy the device. Among early adopters, smartglass awareness is nearly 50 percent. Read more about the NPD survey.

[More on wearable devices: Wearables will wow them in Vegas | Will enterprises need to change BYOD policies to accommodate wearables?]

>> UK plan to hike spectrum license fees could stall 4G

The proposal by U.K. regulator Ofcom to increase spectrum license fees could slow 4G deployment, warns the European mobile association GSMA. Ofcom is proposing to increase license fees from £24.8 million to £138.5 million for the 900MHz band and from £39.7 million to £170.4 million for the 1800MHz. Ofcom's proposal "will jeopardize mobile operators' ability to upgrade their networks to 4G services in the U.K….Any lag in 4G roll-out could potentially put U.K. businesses at an international disadvantage and deny consumers access to the latest mobile services," warns Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer at GSMA. Read more on GSMA statement.

[More on 4G: 4G LTE will account for 50% of US wireless connections by end of 2014 | UK mobile operator EE shifts 4G LTE network into high gear]