But an increase of only 382.5 million subscribers is expected this year due to a slowing world economy and some areas approaching saturation. By 2012, growth is forecast to slow to 163 million cell phone customers annually, roughly twice the population increase projected for that year.
Subscriptions are growing especially fast in India and China as people get their first mobile phones, which are
often their first phones of any kind, according to In-Stat Analyst Allen Nogee. While most are low-end GSM handsets, some are starting to incorporate more high-end features.--Mark Walsh