ECONOMY

Mobile phone sales to grow further in 2005

The domestic mobile phone market is expected to grow even more in 2005, with between 2.75 and 3 million new handsets to be sold at a total value of 410-450 million euros, according to a survey by Stat Bank. This assessment by representatives from the Greek market is due to a sales boost thanks to new third-generation technologies and intense competition among companies. In 2005 the market is forecast to grow by 10 to 20 percent. Expected to contribute to this are an increase in mobile telephony penetration in the Greek market, the broadening of service providers’ clientele and mainly the new handset models that include further technological innovations. The estimate for handset sales in 2004 is at 2.5 million, with consumers spending about 350 million euros to purchase them. In fact, the amount spent by phone users will be considerably smaller as service providers subsidize handsets to sell with a specific package. The use of mobile phones in Greece is ever increasing as every year consumers purchase more handsets. Estimates by market representatives show sales of handsets at 2.1 million in 1999, rising to 2.3 million last year. Their penetration in the domestic market also increases: From 68 percent in late 2001, it has now risen to 80 percent and is expected to reach 95 percent by the end of next year. This bucks the trend in the global market where mobile telephony shows retardation. A telling example is in the US where penetration is less. In Greece, penetration is so high because use of mobile phones covers the entire age spectrum from 8 to 70 years old: It is ever more common these days for primary school children to be using advanced-technology mobiles. Market estimates suggest that competition among handset constructors and new technologies leads to the constant redistribution of market shares, with Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Siemens, Motorola, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp and LG being the major players.