In 2004, worldwide mobile phone shipments saw their strongest year-to-year increase in history, rising 34% from 2003 to 2004 with 692 million units
shipped in a massive expansion driven by the demand for color displays and camera phones throughout the world. According to a new mobile phone forecast from IDC, worldwide market growth is expected to continue in 2005, but at a slower pace.
Globally, IDC expects mobile phone shipment totals to slow in most regions during 2005 as a direct result of the large number of new phones purchased by wireless subscribers in 2003 and 2004. However, demand from emerging countries and first-time wireless subscribers will continue to drive growth for mobile phones. In 2005, IDC expects the largest share of shipment growth to come from emerging countries with the total expected volume increasing by more than 20 million units shipped.
"Strong demand from emerging markets, the attraction of color displays and camera-enabled mobile phones, and delays in 3G network availability made 2004 a banner year for 2.5G mobile phone shipments. With more than 692 million units shipped in 2004, the underlying foundation of the mobile phone market is sound, but limited catalysts for 3G adoption will create complex market conditions over the next few years. The market will continue to expand through 2009, however, offering a significant opportunity for hardware, software, and service vendors alike," said David Linsalata, research analyst, Mobile Devices research at IDC.
The worldwide wireless subscriber base will continue to grow throughout the forecast period, driven by the human desire to communicate. In 2005, IDC expects there to be nearly 1.7 billion active wireless subscribers or individuals paying a subscription bill in the world. Through 2009, wireless subscriber base growth will exist in all regions, although some countries and regions will reach near-full penetration levels by the end of the forecast period.
The IDC study, Worldwide Mobile Phone 2005-2009 Forecast & Analysis (IDC #33290), presents actual 2004 data and the impact of this demand on IDC's updated forecast for mobile phone shipments, including converged mobile devices and camera phones through 2009.
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