Horace Dediu did have his weekly @5by5 podcast Fly me to the moon today, and discussed what could be a decent estimation of the smartphone market. He cited ITU, the mobile operators own global organization, in that in 2011 there was 6 billion subscriptions. He considered it probable that the smartphone market would rise to 5 billion, and that if Apple maintained it’s marketshare, it could obtain 20%.
Contrast this with a report from the World Bank, which tells that there are will be 7,5 billion people and 9 million subscriptions as soon as in 2015. Citing the report:
“The mobile revolution is right at the start of its growth curve: mobile devices are becoming cheaper and more powerful while networks are doubling in bandwidth roughly every 18 months and expanding into rural areas,” said Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Policy Specialist at the World Bank and one of the authors of the report.
The World Bank report is available here
Using Horace numbers from ITU, with 86% of people currently having a subscription, 80% future penetration of 3G, Apple could reach 1 billion subscribers for it iOS devices.
On the other hand, using the World Bank numbers with near 100% of the population having mobile, the same assumptions on 3G and Apple market share, the limit for Apple could be almost the double.
I would love to have Horace Dediu discussing the matter again!