GuyClapperton 12 Staff Writer

An interesting report from the BBC this morning suggests that smartphone sales will decline worldwide except in developing nations over the coming 12 months.

Well, duh. It's been known for a while at least in the UK that there are now actually more handsets than there are people. And as the functions on those handsets become more sophisticated yes, there will be many more people happy with what they've got. Be honest - how many of the functions on your phone do you actually use?

So sales will come down. That matters less in the UK than elsewhere because we have this system of subsidised handsets - you can get a great handset for nothing as long as you take out a contract for 18 months with your carrier (I paid a little for my iPhone 3G but only because I wanted 16 gigs on it - an 8 gig version would have been free on contract).

Elsewhere, though, it's going to hit R&D and other product development. Meanwhile the carriers are going to be expected to provide more and more data services while people have less and less money in their pockets to pay for the infrastructure.

This isn't actually going to be limited to the mobile world, either. Hard-wired Internet, the sort you're probably using now, has been getting faster and slicker over the years and the expectation is that this trend will continue. Well, if we're expecting the cost to continue to fall, where's the infrastructure improvement we'll need going to come from? I can't make the figures add up. In a global recession people are going to be less and less willing to pay for stuff they've perceived as effectively free up to now, just as the existing infrastructure is going to reach saturation point.

Should be an interesting year. My bet is that we're going to have to start paying for stuff just when we think we can't.

The BBC report is here.