Mobile phone sales still growing

Australian mobile phone sales are faring better than their overseas counterparts. Global handset retail sales fell 3.2 per cent to 399.6 millions units, the first decline in the history of the industry., due to market penetration of over 75 per cent.

However, in Australia market penetration is only at around 60 per cent, so there's still room for a few years' growth of approximately 1 million users, says telecommunications analyst Paul Budde.

Mobile handset manufacturers agree, with Sony Ericsson's Cameron Cooper saying that two-thirds of sales this year will be replacements. It's up to manufacturers to bring out new models that give consumers reasons to upgrade, he says.

The bulk of sales in future years will be replacements, analysts agree. Global retail sales of handsets are predicted to grow to 870 million units by 2006, with 77 per cent being replacements.