Mobile users tipped to hit three billion in two years

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By  Published  November 17, 2006

THE NUMBER of people subscribing to mobile phone services is set to reach three billion by 2008, with the Middle East and Africa (MEA) accounting for 20% of the next billion according to research firm IDC.

Demand for cell phones has been steadily growing for some time -- the number of units shipped around the world leapt 21% in the third quarter of 2006 on the same period of 2005, the firm said in its quarterly mobile phone tracker.

Nokia topped the vendor ranking shipping 88.5 million phones during the quarter, followed by Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics, IDC said.

As the user base expands, there will be increasing competition between operators to deliver better and faster services with next generation technology becoming a priority investment, the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) said, reporting on feedback from vendors prior to its upcoming telecoms-dedicated exhibition GulfComms.

“As the telecom revolution goes underway in the region, the introduction of supporting technology is now becoming a vital component in the business strategy of every operator,” said DWTC director general Helal Saeed Al Marri.

“Increasingly telecoms operators in the MEA region are looking for options that will help them reduce operating costs and increase the efficiency and availability of their services,” Al Marri continued.

“Technology providers across the region are gearing up to make the most of the 3G migration boom expected. Technology vendors servicing this region on their part are beefing up on the range of solutions and services that they will offer on the 3G networks,” he added.

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