The average replacement cycle for mobile handsets is two and a half years, a figure that has increased over the past 18 months as a result of general economic uncertainty. Nokia said that figure is now stabilising.
Nokia predicted the global mobile subscriber market would grow from more than 1.1 billion at the end of 2002 to approximately 1.5 billion in 2005, an annual growth rate of 10.8 percent.
While operator investments have decreased, capacity needs, driven by increasing network traffic, have grown. Continued take-up of mobile data services will further increase pressure on existing networks, Nokia said.
The handset market is entering a new phase of advanced features and services, featuring colour screens, imaging, multimedia message services, browsers and Java, and growth will need the adoption of standards such as those proposed by the Open Mobile Alliance, Nokia added.