Mobile phone penetration saw a dramatic growth across Asia/Pacific over the last few years. In 2005, the number of respondents who owned mobile phones reaching 90.2% compared with 80.2% reported in the previous year. Australia and Singapore showed the highest growth rates of 11%, in terms of mobile phone ownership, while Hong Kong and Taiwan declined by three%age points, reflecting the saturation of mobile phone market. These two countries also registered the highest level of mobile penetration as of 2004, and it was not uncommon for users to own more than two mobile phones. Korea recorded the highest penetration of color display phones, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong. PRC, Australia and Taiwan also recorded notable penetration of color display mobile phones. While Australia and Taiwan are known to be the more advanced mobile markets, Taiwan and PRC are also homes to low-cost mobile phone handsets with advanced features. Smartphones with PDA ownership remains minimal across all countries at less than 5% penetration.
IDC surveyed Asian mobile users on most popular apps. SMS maintained as the most popular mobile data application, with 65% of the users sending text messages everyday. Handset personalization services, playing games offline on the mobile phone and sending camera-phone photos showed encouraging take-up. Survey findings indicate that over 20% of users download icons/screensavers/logos/ringtones, send camera-phone taken photos and play offline games, with their mobile phones at least once a month or more frequently. More than 10% of users utilize information services, instant messaging and participate in voting events/polls/raffles, via their mobile phone.