This is pretty cool.
Nokia has updated their predictions and is now saying that there will be three billion mobile phone subs by 2008, two years ahead of everyone's previous estimates of 3 billion by 2010. This makes perfect sense as I've noticed over the past couple of years that the estimates for mobile phone sales at the beginning of the year are usualy 25-30% lower than the actual numbers by the end of the year. Look at the predictions for 2004 and 2005, there were mid-year correctons by all the analysis firms in both years.
"We've changed our forecast due to the faster growth in emerging markets," said Parikshit Bhasin, country general manager of Nokia Philippines at a yearend briefing.
Statistics from Informa Telecoms Media had about 1.56 billion GSM-based mobile phone subscribers in the world in the first nine months of 2005, said the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
Growth is expected to come from the Africas, some parts of Europe, Russia, India, and of course, China, GSA said.
Nokia expects the total number of mobile handsets sold worldwide to reach 780 million by end of 2005, a slight improvement from the second quarter forecast of 760 million
Nokia for its part said that it had sold more than 66 million mobile phones worldwide at the end of third quarter this year. This was amid earlier speculations that global demand was slowing down.
So what does this mean to me? Well, since I'm thinking about services for the industrialized, mostly Western countries which are already reaching mobile saturation, and moving on to advanced data services, probably not a lot. But I think as an indicator of global trends, it means we're just at the beginning of some really cool opportunities. If you think of a timeline where people first get a phone, then move along the technology cycle where the handsets get more powerful, networks get faster and rates get cheaper, there's going to be a lot of people connected really soon. Also, as time goes on there's chances for countries to leapfrog older cellular technology and arrive at 3G sooner because of the economies of scale from manufacturers. But even with plain-old SMS technologies, there's a lot of interesting SmartMobs-like changes coming to many parts of the world.
Cool stuff. Now I have to go back and change a bunch of slides... ;-)