Nokia CEO: The Internet is the Future

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told attendees of the Nokia World 2006 Conference that Internet functionality will be the driving force in the next phase of mobile phone industry growth.

Kallasvuo also dismissed speculation by some industry analysts that the market is mature, and said the Internet would provide new avenues for growth in the industry. He said that Nokia's intended to be "at the forefront of this new era."

Growth in the wireless phone market continues to outpace predictions, and the three billion mobile subscriber milestone will be reached sometime next year. By 2010, that number will increase to four billion, Nokia said at the conference.

Most of this growth is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, where penetration in large countries such as China and India remain relatively low. In some developing markets, the phone is the consumer's primary access point to the Internet.

In fact, at the conference the company introduced the Nokia 2626 handset, which includes GPRS data and e-mail access. It is also the company's first entry-level "fashion phone," underscoring demand in new markets for more style-conscious electronics.

"The Internet has transformed the way we live our lives and communicate with each other, and we expect it to play a key role in the next phase of Nokia's growth," Kallasvuo said. "The next wave of the Internet will be to make it truly mobile, creating new ways for people to connect to others and find information from wherever they are."

Nokia believes that navigation services, mobile television, and multimedia will continue to play a role. The company is not only seeing demand for phones with these services in developing markets, but in established ones as well, leading to a strong replacement market.

In fact, 65 percent of phones purchased this year would fall into that category, rising to 80 percent by the end of the decade.

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