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3G Mobile Forecast to Reach Critical Mass

Worldwide mobile phone subscriptions will rise from 3.9 billion in 2008 to 5.6 billion in 2013, according to the latest market study by Strategy Analytics.

Discounting for people with more than one subscription, more than half of the world's population will be using mobile phones by early 2010, up from 40 percent at the start of this year.

Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa (MEA) are responsible for the current surge in mobile phone service subscriptions. Those areas will remain the engines for growth in the wireless market in the medium term, contributing to 80 percent of subscription growth through 2013.

"These two regions may be driving the subscription count, but they contribute much less to global revenues," comments Phil Kendall, Director Global Wireless Practice.

"Asia-Pacific and MEA account for nearly 60 percent of worldwide subscriptions, but less than 40 percent of revenues. Their increasing significance will reduce average revenues per subscription by 15 percent over the next five years."

3G networks will account for half of all mobile subscriptions by 2013. Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Senior Analyst, adds "3G technologies will reach critical mass in more regions in 2008, driving worldwide subscriber numbers close to 500 million by year end."

Next year, more than one third of all mobile service revenues will be generated by 3G technologies, even though 3G accounts for only one in six subscribers.

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