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Colombian mobile operators' association Asocel expects the mobile market to reach 9 million users by year-end, local newspaper La República quoted Asocel president José Fernando Bautista as saying.
This figure represents a 50% increase compared to the 6 million users registered by the end of 2003. Asocel expects the total client base to grow at 35% over the next two years, mainly driven by a drop in prices, Bautista said.
The mobile sector grew 46% in the last year, finally overtaking the number of fixed lines in use, according to statistics published by Colombia's communication ministry. While in 2002 only 10 out of 100 Colombians had a mobile phone, this figure has increased to 17 out of 100, meaning 69% growth in two years. Growth in this period is mostly attributed to the entrance of the third mobile operator OLA.
Operators' commercial strategies will mainly benefit the prepaid segment, which accounts for 70% of Colombia's mobile market. Prepaid users will not only see reductions in handset prices but also in the prices of calls.