The world will have 3 billion cellular connections by the end of year, bolstered by rapid market growth in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the latest study from Wireless Intelligence.
According to its latest forecasts, the Asia-Pacific region will account for 40 percent of the world's growth in 2007 at 1.2 billion cellular connections. Wireless Intelligence is a joint venture between research house Ovum and GSM Association.
Worldwide, there will be an estimated increase of 409 million connections in 2007, representing an annual growth rate of 15 percent, according to Wireless Intelligence.
However, the study noted, the Asia-Pacific growth rate will begin to decelerate once larger markets within the region reach maturity.
Wireless Intelligence predicted that China's growth rate will be surpassed by countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Last year, India's quarterly net addition tripled from 6 million in mid-2005 to 18 million in end-2006, overtaking China as the country with the largest growth rate. India is projected to add another 69 million cellular connections in 2007, compared to China's 63 million.
Pakistan and Bangladesh, meanwhile, are both expected to post significant growth rates of 42.1 percent and 45.3 percent, respectively, in 2007.
Wireless Intelligence also predicted that the global market penetration will rise from an estimated 41 percent at the end of 2006, to 47 percent by end-2007.
Countries with more developed cellular markets are expected to see over 100 percent market penetration, though Wireless Intelligence attributed this to: Multiple device ownership, and SIM cards that are no longer in use due to churn but have yet to be removed from the operator's database.