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Global Wireless Handset Market Forecast

The market for wireless handsets was $110 billion in 2005. In-Stat predicts that it will grow 23 percent, to exceed $136 billion in 2006.

It will continue to grow but at a slower rate, exceeding $250 billion in 2011. To put this in perspective, if wireless handsets were a sovereign country, it would be the 53rd largest economy, right behind Ireland, but growing more than twice as fast as China.

This growth is not preordained. According to the study, it depends upon phone manufacturers continuing to add features that consumers value and the rest of the industry can support. The greatest challenge is to just add the features different customers want without adding unneeded cost or complexity from unneeded or unwanted features. The report includes end-user survey results that explore current customer attitudes as well as how it corresponds to their past buying behavior.

The goal for wireless phone manufacturers is to make customers forget they ever tolerated a phone without the new innovations. This has happened as the mobile phone has advanced dramatically in the past several years. According to the survey, very few U.S. users, less than 5 percent, do not use at least one of the technological innovations introduced over this period. Consumers seem ready to embrace other new features, including location-based services and Bluetooth connectivity, but only a narrow segment have interest in multimedia features and camera phones use will see a decline.

"Big trends over the next five years include adoption of wireless phones as a mobile wallet that and more users will carry multiple devices," says Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst. "The primary changes in phones over the next five years are that they will become more capable, incorporate beefier security, and be more targeted as organizations have greater involvement in the wireless service decisions of their employees. Perhaps more importantly, they will help us be safer."

In-Stat found the following:

- Worldwide sales of mobile phones will rise from 935 million units in 2006 to more than double that 2011.
- SmartPhone sales will surpass 480 million units by 2011.
- Motorola was by far the most popular phone brand among survey respondents who obtained their phone through work.

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