Mobile Usage to Double by 2007

Despite tough global economic conditions and burdensome debt loads carried by operators in many markets, demand for mobile telecommunications services remains strong and the number of mobile subscribers worldwide will double by 2007, said Kurt Hellstrom, president of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, during a keynote speech at the IEEE Global Telecommunications Conference in Taipei recently.

"We believe the [mobile] subscription growth is going to continue and will reach roughly 1.8 billion in 2007," Hellstrom said, noting that this is roughly double the current number of mobile subscribers. "We have only seen the beginning of the many opportunities that lie ahead."

New Nets Needed

Among those opportunities are new customers expressing growing demand for mobile data services, such as third-generation (3G) services. "We are just beginning to see the growth in mobile data. It starts with camera phones and sending pictures and one day this could be a natural way of communicating between each other," Hellstrom said. Ericsson is among several phone vendors that have developed cell phones with cameras built in, or that accept plug-in digital cameras.

"In technological terms, this requires high data rates and this is where technology comes in," he said, adding that the industry is beginning to see the adoption of high-bandwidth mobile technologies and the roll-out of 3G services in several countries, with operators in many others planning to soon launch similar services.

The shift to 3G services may prove challenging for operators, however, as high-speed data services, such as NTT DoCoMo's Foma 3G service, which was launched in October 2001, have experienced a rocky start.

Since its launch, Foma has been plagued by problems such as limited coverage and expensive handsets with short battery life. The service attracted 134,000 subscribers during its first 10 months in operation, far short of the company's initial expectations of 1.38 million subscribers by the end of 2002.

Mobile Remains Hot

The shortfall in Foma's subscriber growth stands in stark contrast with subscriber growth for other mobile offerings in Japan. During the ten months that followed the launch of the Foma service, 5.6 million people signed up for second generation (2G), or 2.5G services, in Japan, including 3 million with NTT DoCoMo.

"From a technological standpoint, nobody ... has ever expected that this technology shift would take place overnight," Hellstrom said. "It is an evolution and it is now ongoing."

Despite slow initial uptake of 3G services in markets like Japan, Hellstrom sees strong growth for mobile data services based on 3G and other technologies in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan, in the coming years. "We anticipate that this region will account for more than 50 percent of all [mobile data] traffic in 2007-2008," he said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?