Japan’s mobile-phone shipments are forecast to rise this year, after gaining for the first time in three quarters in the period ended December, researcher IDC said. For all of 2005, shipments rose 0.5 percent to 44.32 million units. Sales of 3G handsets in the fourth quarter helped offset declines in the previous two quarters, fourth-quarter mobile-phone shipments rose 7.1 percent to 11.6 million units from a year earlier, IDC said.
“There will be strong demand in the first half of the year as new models this spring spurs replacement demand,” IDC analyst Michito Kimura said in a statement today. “We’ll see more than 5 percent growth this year as the implementation of number portability in the second half of the year will be another growth catalyst.”
Japan’s cell-phone makers are racing to attract subscribers through new models with features such as high-speed Internet connection and advanced cameras ahead of a regulatory change. The government will implement a regulation in November allowing customers to keep their existing phone numbers even if they switch mobile-phone service providers. Continue