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What Is the Mobile Phone Industry?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

The mobile phone industry is a broad term that describes almost every aspect of creating, marketing, and selling mobile phones. Telecommunications companies and hardware manufacturers are the biggest players, but accessories producers, software developers, and advertisers also have stakes. Any company or business that profits from mobile phone sales can be said to be a part of the mobile phone industry.

Mobile phone manufacturing is the industry’s main lynchpin. Even this category is a broad one, however. Manufacturing starts with project design teams, who conceptualize a phone’s aesthetic design and basic operating capabilities. These professionals decide what the phone is going to look like, taking new technology, consumer demand, and market competition into account.

Early mobile phones.
Early mobile phones.

From there, product development specialists work with the design team’s specs to create a functioning, working model. This can take several iterations and often involves some product evolution and limited consumer testing. The phone must then be mass-produced.

In most cases, mobile phone production happens in factories, often with the aid of specially programmed robots. Assembly line workers and quality control specialists are also usually involved. Mobile phone export, import, sales, and packaging are all part of this process.

Meanwhile, the phones must be advertised, so that there is demand for them once they arrive in stores. In most cases, this is the job of an executive marketing team. This side of the mobile phone industry is concerned with promoting a phone’s features and driving sales. Advertising may be conducted by a phone company’s in-house team or may be outsourced to an external advertising agency. Even if an agency also handles other clients, it is a part of the mobile phone industry as long as it creates copy and executes a marketing plan for mobile phones and related products.

The mobile phone industry also includes many players who are not directly related to a phone’s sales and production. Common examples include software and app developers, accessories manufacturers, and support system designers. The more technologically advanced a phone is, the more likely it is to be able to run a number of different programs. Smartphones with Internet capabilities are a prime market for both innovation and sales. The app market alone draws in a significant amount of revenue each year and, as such, has established itself as an important sector of the mobile phone industry.

Telecommunications carriers are also integral industry players. A phone on its own is not much good unless connected to a network. Cellular telecommunications operators maintain and operate these networks, and in many places they control the allocation of the wireless broadband space.

Innovation and developments in new technology mean that the mobile phone industry is in constant state of forward motion. Competition is also very steep. The race to create, sell, or work with the next best-selling phone keeps the market in flux. It can be easy to rise to the top of the industry, but it is usually quite difficult to stay there for any length of time.

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Discussion Comments


The mobile phone industry has done a great job of growing the mobile phone market. We have gone for a market where the phones were directed toward upper and then middle class people to what we have now where virtually everyone has a mobile phone.

Most of my friends don't have home phones anymore. Neither my girlfriend nor I even considered getting a home phone when we purchased our new house. We were actually amused to see the phone line and phone jack on the wall.


Mobile phones were much more difficult to get when they first came out and in the years right after they first came out. You practically had to sign your life away with those early contracts. Nowadays, anybody can get some type of mobile phone as long as they have a little money.

I remember when people with less than good credit were wasting their time even trying to get a mobile phone. Now you can go to the store and buy a pay-as-you-o phone and credit isn't an issue. I think the mobile phone companies realized they were losing a lot of money with their contracts and strict credit requirements.


Does anyone here remember the early mobile phones? I was in a club in the 80s, if I remember correctly, and there was a guy walking around the club with this telephone. I think they were also called bag phones back then because they were attached to some type of bag case.

Anyway, people were crowded around him, and he was eating up the attention. At that time, most people hadn't even seen a mobile phone, so it was kind of cool that he had one right there. I don't think any of us had any idea they would catch on the way they have.

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    • Early mobile phones.
      Early mobile phones.