The head of Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has predicted there will be more than five billion mobile phone subscriptions by 2015, with the majority coming from emerging markets--and the uptake will fragment the world of mobility.
Speaking today at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO designate of NSN, said that of the next two and a half billion new users expected to be added within the next decade, 90 percent to 95 percent will be in the developing world--and they won't necessarily be on GSM or CDMA and its successors.
He said: "We see the market will move in different directions... It's a global reality here--different markets are moving at different rhythms."
As a result of the emerging markets' adoption of mobility, the telephony landscape will no longer be dominated by just two standards.
Beresford-Wylie said: "We think here in Europe the predominant mobile carriage will be the HSDPA/ LTE path. In countries like India, that's not necessarily the case--where operators are spectrum constrained, there probably will be demand for WiMax."
In the Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), where 645 million subscribers are predicted to be added by 2010, WiMax is being adopted in parallel with some flavors of 3G. China for example is working on creating a homegrown standard for third generation but licenses are yet to be allocated, leading some operators to consider WiMax.
Which technical standard to choose won't be the only problem facing the developing world. How to power infrastructure will be one of the upcoming quandaries in mobility, according to Beresford-Wylie.
He said: "It's a really, really significant issue for operator customers in these markets."
Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.