Cell phone carrier market is headed downhill and companies need new strategies to cope according to a new report.

Phone subscriber growth averaging 25 percent in 2004, 2005 and 2006, will taper off by nearly half, to 12.8 percent in 2007, according do research firm iSuppli.

The slowdown in new subscriber growth and the deceleration in mobile-phone sales translates directly into deteriorating market conditions for wireless carriers, said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli. Carriers and their mobile phone suppliers need new strategies to counter the impact of this phenomenon.

The research firm predicts that the slowdown will continue during the following years, with subscriber growth dropping to 9.6 percent in 2008, 7 percent in 2009 and to 5.7 percent in 2010.

It did suggest that companies should focus on monetizing customers in developed regions, offering services like Internet access, mobile TC, and music downloads that subscribers would be willing to pay for.

The firm also emphasized the need for suppliers to focus on catering to the mobile needs of less developed areas of the world.

According to iSuppli, developing nations and regions have much lower wireless penetration rates, with Latin America at 48.3 percent; China at 24.4 percent; Africa, the Middle East and Australia at 23.6 percent and India at a mere 13.5 percent.

For India and other developing regions, the next phase of growth will be driven by low-end phones,” Rebello said. “To serve this area, manufacturers need to drive down their phone costs.