Mobile phone sales to exceed 1 billion in 2009: Gartner

BANGALORE: Mobile phones are soon going to take over all other forms of communications. A global study released by Gartner on mobile phones revealed that the milestone of one billion units sold per year will be reached in 2009.

Gartner's global forecast for mobile phones also predicts that sales will reach 779 million units in 2005, which is a 16 per cent increase on 2004.



This comprehensive study included detailed forecasts of sales in 62 countries. It was compiled by Gartner's team of more than 20 mobile and wireless analysts based in 12 countries around the globe.



Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales





























Source: Gartner Dataquest (July 2005)

The research also showed that in 2005, mobile phone sales will reach 779 million units, which will be a 16 per cent increase on 2004. Also, more than 100 million 3G phones will be sold in 2006. Apart from that more than 200 million smartphones will be sold in 2008.

Asia/Pacific accounts for most sales: The research shows that one in every four mobile phones sold this year is in this region.

In 2009 this will increase to one in three. China and India alone will account for nearly 200 million units in 2007, with the Indian market surpassing China in 2009 to reach 139 million units.

According to Gartner, in 2004 the total number of mobile phones sold was around 21 million in India and is estimated to be 34 million in 2005. In comparison China clocked in 68 million units in 2004 and is estimated to grow to 85 million in 2005.



"A conducive regulatory environment, affordable services and increased geographic penetration of networks will drive mobile penetration in India. An important enabler will be the initiative in bringing down handset costs to lower the initial barrier to entry," says Kobita Desai, principal analyst Asia Pacific for Telecom.

The growth in the Indian mobile market will create new opportunities and challenges for enterprises, individuals and government. Gartner will be holding its India Summit 2005 on 3 - 4 August 2005 in Mumbai. The summit will throw light on this 'technology-led transformation in the workforce, enterprises and society at large' in the session 'The Future of Wireless: Wireless Technology Scenario.'

The world's appetite for mobile phones has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. Mobile phones could go on to be the most common consumer electronics devices on the planet," said Gartner research vice president for mobile terminals Ben Wood.

Gartner estimates there will be 2.6 billion mobile phones in use by the end of 2009.

"The sales volume cannot be attributed to one region in particular. It's a truly global phenomenon. In mature markets like Europe and North America, subscribers are still buying replacement phones. In emerging markets like Brazil and India, new customers are signing up for mobile services at an even faster rate," said Gartner principal analyst for mobile terminals Carolina Milanesi.

North Americans are still buying the latest models, but the bigger story is in Latin America. Hugues De La Vergne, Gartner's principal analyst for mobile terminals in the Americas, said, "Sales nearly doubled in 2004 within Latin America and they will reach 100 million mobile phones a year by 2009. Brazil is the powerhouse of the region, accounting for more than a third of sales this year."

Deeper analysis of the forecast shows that smartphones are the fastest growing category of device. "Smartphone sales broke all records in the first quarter of 2005 and we expect them to double year on year to 2006," said Gartner principal analyst Roberta Cozza.

Despite spectacular growth on all fronts, not everything is rosy. Wood cautioned, "Sales numbers are impressive, but the big names in this industry will have to deliver value as well as volume. We expect the average wholesale price of a mobile phone will decline from $174 in 2004 to $161 in 2009. At the same time, phones will keep getting more complex and become ever-more packed with features. Only the sharpest players will survive."

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