ABI Research this week released a study projecting more than 100 million dual-mode mobile phones that can connect to conventional cellular service or a Wi-Fi network will be sold globally each year by the end of the decade.

Dual mode phones allow users to conduct conversations via voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) within range of a subscriber’s wireless LAN and seamlessly switch the conversation to a cellular network when out of the WLAN’s range. This is expected to help minimize cellular charges and enhance in-building coverage.

Such dual-mode phones are just being introduced, but the rollout of dual-mode services by global telecom giants such as British Telecom and Korea Telecom later this year could create significant momentum for the market, according to ABI Research senior analyst Philip Solis.

"The advantages of dual-mode handsets and services, when they arrive, can be summed up in two words: seamless and economical," Solis said in a prepared statement.