Australians embrace mobile phones

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The number of Australian mobile phone users will grow to 19.2 million this year, according to an industry analyst.

The number of Australian mobile phone users will grow to 19.2 million this year, according to an industry analyst.

IDC anticipates the number of Australian mobile phone users would grow by 7.4 percent to 19.2 million this year.

An IDC study, "No Strings Attached: Australian Cellular Forecast and Analysis, 2004-2009", found there would be 100 percent penetration in Australia before the end of 2008.

"That outlook puts us well in the footsteps of other more mature Western European countries, such as Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom, where mobile phone use already exceeded the 100 percent mark," according to a statement from IDC.

The study also found that last year Australia's mobile phone penetration surpassed "natural saturation", which meant every Australian who could be using a mobile phone was already using one.

Warren Chaisatien, mobile and wireless research manager at IDC Australia, said the industry was entering a new mature phase of competition.

"[The industry] is forcing carriers to reposition and further differentiate themselves," Chaisatien said.

The study also claimed growth in the next five years would mainly come from 3G users. Those users made up only five percent of Australia’s mobile user base this year. However, IDC expected them to comprise one in three of all mobile phone users in 2009.

IDC also said future industry growth would be driven by multiple-SIM, increased substitution of landline traffic by mobiles, and fixed-to-mobile convergence, according to a statement.

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