Are we seeing the beginning of falling smartphone prices?
That's the question doing the rounds after news broke last week that U.S. mobile network operators and retailers are lowering the price of Blackberry's latest Z10 phone to as low as $49 with a service contract, from $199 four months earlier.
According to a research note from Macquarie, manufacturers of high-end smartphones may be forced to lower prices in the coming months, as the market nears saturation and users slow the pace of changing phones.
"We expect high-end smartphone demand to gradually plateau and price competition to intensify from the second half of 2013," analysts at the bank wrote in a report published late Thursday.
"High penetration rates in most developed countries and consumers' lengthening replacement cycles are causing a slowdown in sales growth of several leading smartphone brands," they said.
(Read More: Smartphone 'Saturation' Fears for Apple, Samsung)
With high-end smartphones likely to account for a smaller share of overall smartphone sales, this is also negative for companies operating in the supply chain, the bank warned, noting that component makers are already facing production cuts.