2006: Year of the 3G phone

In the off chance it wasn't already clear, a recent study coming out of ABI Research confirms that 2006 will be the year of the 3G phone. Worldwide mobile subscribers could top 3.5 billion if low-cost handset initiatives being prompted by Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson help operators in China, India and across Africa. Texas Instruments has a hand in those initiatives, too. By the end of 2004 there were 17.3 million 3G subscribers and by the end of last year, they reached 42 million. That's a growth rate of 142 percent year-over-year. By the end of 2010, ABI estimates that 1 billion subscribers worldwide will be 3G subscribers, about 30 percent of the market. Others suggest the advent of Mobile ESPN on Sunday is enough impetus to call 2006 the 3G year, but I think it's best to see how their subscribers swallow the astronomical subscription fees first.

For more on 3G growth this year:
- see this press release from ABI