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Wireless Continues Record Worldwide Growth Rate: Study

Record growth coming from emerging markets even as more mature markets are seeing flat or declining growth, according to a new study.
There will be more than 2.1 billion wireless subscribers worldwide by the end of 2005, 350 million of whom will have subscribed for the first time this year, according to a study released Wednesday by U.K. market research firm Informa.

While wireless penetration is extremely high in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, growth in the number of wireless subscribers in those countries is flat or declining. By contrast, most of the global growth is coming from emerging markets, the study said. That's particularly true in emerging markets in which subscriber costs have been going down, such as Mexico and Nigeria, the study said.

The study also noted that growth of wireless in Russia continues to grow quickly. Subscribers grew 89 percent in 2004, which was actually a decrease compared to the four previous years, the study said. Subscriber growth in China will be 65 percent by the end of 2010 and Indonesia is another high-growth country, according to the report.

The study said that the global penetration rate is 28 percent, even though it is near or even exceeding 100 percent in some mature markets. That means there is plenty of room for growth, the study concluded.