Mobile telecommunications

19 01 2006

Jan 5th 2006

The growth in the number of mobile-phone subscribers is nothing short of spectacular. In 1990 there were just over 11m of them worldwide. Today almost 1.5 billion consumers own mobile phones of various shapes and sizes. Some see their spread as the key to bridging the digital divide and as a tool to boost development in poor countries.But for many mobile operators the price of popularity has been high, particularly in Europe, where they racked up huge debts around the turn of the millennium while bidding wildly for third-generation (3G) network licenses. As 3G networks are switched on, consumer interest is proving to be lacklustre. Worse yet, whizzy new services (like mobile TV and wireless broadband) are likely to be carried on other networks in the future. Meanwhile, the leading handset makers, such as Motorola, Samsung, and even Nokia, are struggling to stay on top as markets become saturated and competition increases.




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