Cellular phones and credit cards celebrate "2.5 billion" in 2006

Celebrating 2.5 Billion

Until cellular phones replace credit cards for all payments, probably there is not much common between the two. But both have passed a key milestone this year. Cellular phone connections worldwide have crossed 2.5 billion this year and are on target to hit the 3 billion mark in 2007. Incidentally, the total number of credit cards in circulation worldwide have also crossed the 2.5 billion mark earlier this year, with Visa accounting for a handsome 64% market share.

Although the computer market is still by far the leading consumer of ICs and is forecast to represent 47% of the 2006 IC market, the electronic system type driving most of the IC market growth this year is cellular phones, according to IC Insights. The cellular phone industry is expected to be one of the most important, if not the most important, future IC market drivers.

IC Insights forecats 3 billion cellular phone subscribers by next year. This figure would represent about 45% of the world's population of 6.6 billion in 2007! In 2006, IC Insights forecasts 965 million cellular handsets will be sold, an increase of 20% over 2005! 

While much is talked about regarding an increase in cheap cellular phones for the emerging markets (e.g., India), cellular handset ASP is forecast to decline only 4% in 2006 (to $130), the same rate of decline as in 2005. With a large percentage of cellular phones being shipped as upgrades to existing subscribers (over 50% in 2006), the demand for high-end cellular phones is keeping the overall decline in handset ASP very moderate.

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