The number of cell phones worldwide could eclipse the number of traditional land lines by 2006, according to a report issued Thursday by a California research company.

With Asia and Europe leading the way as heavy adopters of wireless technology, by 2006 there will be 1.6 billion cellular phone subscribers and just 963 million fixed-line subscribers, according to a report published by The Carmel Group.

This shift toward a highly mobile world could increase the productivity of workers around the globe, as users will have almost immediate access to many forms of information no matter where they go, said Jimmy Schaeffler, chairman and chief executive officer of The Carmel Group. While productivity gains may come as a result of the wireless technology, Schaeffler warned that users will need to learn new ways to use the quick feed of information for the technology to be effective.

“The increase in cellular technology will not contribute to improving the decision-making process,” Schaeffler said. “It may help people access more data, but it does not help in analyzing and synthesizing data.”

As the mobile telecommunication industry expands, the current world order in the industry is not likely to change, Schaeffler said. Countries such as Korea, Japan and China are likely to maintain their places as leading makers of cellular hardware and profit from their position accordingly. Similarly, European cellular phone makers that have shown a talent for advancing wireless technology capabilities such as boosting data transfer speeds should witness a boon to their bottom lines as well.

The Carmel Group is at

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