The number of people worldwide using mobile phones will likely reach 3 billion by 2010, a Nokia Corp. executive said Thursday.
Currently, the Helsinki-based cell phone maker, the world's largest in terms of market share, said about 2 billion people have the phones.
Wali Moneimne, Nokia's senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, didn't say how the rise would affect the company's results, but he said that currently the company "owns one-third of the global mobile phone market."
Expanding mobile phone coverage to the developing world is a key issue at the World Summit on the Information Society.
"Four billion people have never made a mobile phone call," said Tom Phillips, head of the GSM Association, a trade lobby group. Although 80 percent of the world's people have access to cell phone networks, only one-quarter use the machines.
He said taxes, regulation and the high cost of phones were obstacles to growth in the developing world. Moneimne agreed that those were the biggest barriers.
Veli Sundback, another Nokia senior vice president present at the conference, told a panel discussion that growth of mobile phone use has proved extraordinarily robust.
"Two years ago, we set a target of 2008 for getting 2 billion users, and we achieved that in September," he said.