Cell phone market ablaze in 2003

The worldwide market for cell phones is outstripping even the most enthusiastic predictions from the beginning of 2003, as consumers continue to snap up handsets at a dizzying rate, according to research released in December by Gartner Inc. Handset vendors sold 132.8 million units in the third quarter of 2003, up 22 per cent from third-quarter shipments in 2002, said Ben Wood, an analyst with Gartner based in London. Gartner calculated the figures using the number of units sold to end users, rather than units shipped into the channel.

“The total market is on fire,” he said. “We had predicted about 470 million units for the year, but it’s going to be about 500 million this year,” he said.