The explosion in mobile phone shipments looks set to cease, slowing instead to a snail's pace, it has been revealed. Last year saw an increase in shipments by 34 percent to 692 million units, with many users upgrading. However it seems that for now, and for even the next five years, shipments will slow to a crawl as people wait for some really dramatic changes to happen.

Shipments in 2005 are expected to increase by about 10 percent to 760 million units, IDC said. Through 2009, the research firm projects a compound annual growth rate of about 5 percent.

Devices that provide access to better games and include a digital music player will be the biggest drivers behind phone replacements over the next several years.

Although 3G is likely to be well received globally, it's expected that growth tied to the high-speed networks will be gradual.