ARC Group revealed that 3G mobile handsets will form only 4% of total worldwide mobile handset sales in 2004. Sales are not expected to pick up before 2006, despite the rollout of 3G networks and services which started to appear in key metropolitan and urban areas in late 2003. 2004 sales of 3G handsets in Japan will grow by 150% year on year to reach 17.6 mln units. This represents 17% of total sales, and by 2009, total 3G handset sales will constitute 90% in Japan.
3G mobiles currently form the bulk of South Korea’s handset sales with 117% year-on-year growth, thanks to the wide coverage of CDMA 1x EV-DO networks and services. Penetration of 3G handsets is estimated at 55% in 2004 and will rise to 91% by 2009. The global mobile handset market will expand by 16% with consumers buying 561 mln new mobiles this year, up from 482.5 mln in 2003. Growth rates will gradually slow down over the next five years as the market saturates, with expected growth of 10% in 2005 and single-digit growth rates from 2006 to 2009 – 7.7% in 2006, 6.4% in 2007, and 4.8% in 2008. By 2009, the global market is projected to grow at a mere 2.6% with 767 mln handsets being shipped.