2006 will be the last year of massive overall worldwide growth in mobile handset sales according to Informa Telecoms & Media.

Informa says that global handset sales will rise from 814.4m at the end of 2005 to 1.26bn by 2011, but growth will slow ‘dramatically’ from 2007 on.
‘Handset manufacturers have enjoyed a fantastic time of it in recent years, but they’re really going to struggle to sell as many handsets and sustain the same levels of profitability,’ commented Dave McQueen, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
Emerging markets in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa will continue to see high growth in numbers, but only for low-margin handsets. Meanwhile the high-margin markets in Europe, America and some Asia Pacific countries are becoming saturated.
In any case the overall growth rates will slow from 2007 onwards, declining from 15.7% a year in 2006 to just 3% pa in 2011.
‘This will put pressure on manufacturers to come up with innovative designs and functions in the effort to persuade consumers to change handsets on a regular basis,’ says Informa.
Cameraphones are now established in most markets worldwide, followed closely by gaming, video download and video streaming. ‘The next key battlegrounds for vendors are music and mobile TV,’ says Informa.
So 9.6% of all handsets sold in 2011 (120m) will have broadcast mobile TV capability. And Informa believes the number of handsets sold with music capabilities will rise from 69.8m in 2005 to 126.1m in 2006 – an 80% increase. 2011 is predicted to see 55% of all handsets sold enabled with music playback functionality.
Informa also predicts that a quarter of all mobile phones sold by 2008 will be 3G-enabled – which doesn’t sound much, until you consider that most operators around the world don’t actually have a 3G network yet.

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