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Mobile phone subscribers top 2 billion worldwide

Wireless Intelligence service pinpoints massive growth in under-developed markets

Wireless Intelligence issued a statement yesterday which claims that the number of mobile phone subscribers is now equivalent to a third of the estimated 6.5 billion world population.

The information service, which was set up by industry body The GSM Association and consulting firm Ovum, indicated that the largest growth in the industry could be attributed to what are generally considered to be less well-developed markets, including China, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and India.

Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia stated last month that it expects the 2 billion mark to be reached in the final quarter of 2005, suggesting a rapid growth to over 3 billion subscribers by 2010.

According to researchers Gartner, Nokia are responsible for 39.1 percent of all mobile phone handsets sold in the second quarter. Second in line with 17.9 percent is Motorola and Korea-based Samsung Electronics follows.

Martin Garner, director at Wireless Intelligence considered the subscriber announcement "a significant landmark for the industry," although the comment was followed by a warning that "total connections are higher than the real number of users due to multiple connections, or inactive pre-paid connections."

Reaching and expanding markets outside the US is essential for the growth and development of the mobile market in general. But more so for the mobile gaming industry, which appears at present to be largely stagnant in many US territories. According to mobile content analysts M: Metrics, figures for the number of US subscribers downloading mobile content and applications has hovered around 6 million users since the end of 2004.

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