Philippines’ Mobile Phone Growth to Slow Down Next Year

The mobile phone market in the Philippines is expected to grow below 10 percent in 2008, the first time it will drop from double digit in nearly a decade, because of the already high usage among Filipinos, according to a leading mobile phone distributor.
    In a news briefing at the Fiamma Bar in Makati City, William Hamilton Whyte, general manager of Nokia Philippines, said with a mobile phone penetration rate of 55 percent this year, the domestic phone market will grow less than 10 percent next year.
    It will be the first time that the percentage growth in mobile phone market will be below a double-digit figure, since text messaging took the country by storm in the late 1990s.
    Figures provided by the three major mobile phone services providers show that cell phone subscribers in the Philippines had reached 50 million as of end-September.
    Whyte said that while annual growth would slow in 2008, the absolute number of additional handsets that will likely be absorbed next year would be over five million units, which is the same as this year and many subscribers would begin to replace their old handsets with new units, thereby contributing to the growth of the so-called replacement market.
    He also said the global mobile phone market would reach four billion handsets by 2010, with nearly one out of three subscribers using a Nokia handset and Asia-Pacific countries, including the Philippines, were expected to become the largest market for mobile phone manufacturers in the coming years.
    The Finnish mobile phone giant just introduced new music-enabled devices in the Philippine market to solidify its position as the world’s leading mobile phone brand. These include Nokia 5310 express music and 5610 express music mobile devices, which feature dedicated music keys for easy access to playlits, large memory to accommodate more tunes, and imaging capabilities.
    “Music plays a big part in the lives of every Filipino. Since mobile phones also play a big role in it, we want to show that you can combine listening pleasures and continuous connectivity with our products,” Whyte finishes.

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