Gartner has released its global forecast for mobile phones predicting that the milestone of one billion units sold per year will be reached in 2009.

The study included detailed forecasts of sales in 62 countries

“The world's appetite for mobile phones has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations,” said Ben Wood, research vice president for mobile terminals at Gartner. “Mobile phones could go on to be the most common consumer electronics devices on the planet.” Gartner estimates there will be 2.6 billion mobile phones in use by the end of 2009.

The research also showed that in 2005, mobile phone sales will reach 779 million units, a 16 percent increase on 2004 and that more than 200 million smartphones will be sold in 2008.

Asia/Pacific accounts for most sales: one in every four mobile phones sold this year. In 2009 this will increase to one in three. Ann Liang, Gartner's principal analyst for mobile terminals in the region said, “China and India alone will account for nearly 200 million units in 2007, with the Indian market surpassing China in 2009 to reach 139 million units.”

North Americans are still buying the latest models, but the bigger story is in Latin America. Hugues De La Vergne, Gartner's principal analyst for mobile terminals in the Americas, said “Sales nearly doubled in 2004 within Latin America and they will reach 100 million mobile phones a year by 2009. Brazil is the powerhouse of the region, accounting for more than a third of sales this year.”