Frost & Sullivan expects mobile users in Southeast Asia to hit 453.3 million by the end of this year, an 18.4 percent increase over last year. Billings are expected to hit $32 billion by year-end and $36.2 billion by the end of 2014.

Nokia has announced the finalists in its annual global developer competition. The top three submissions in each category will receive a cash award, placement in Nokia’s Ovi Store and the opportunity to demo their winning apps at Nokia World.

Harris Stratex Networks has been chosen by Open Range Communications to provide managed services for the rural wireless broadband provider’s network operations center. The five-year agreement is intended to allow Open Range to focus on the buildout of its mobile WiMAX network. The company recently secured $374 million in private and federal funding to build out the 4G network to cover more than 6 million people.

• A report from Informa suggests that the possible merger of Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel and South African group MTN could create the world’s third-largest mobile operator with over 167.5 million subscriptions. The low penetration rates in India and many of the African and Middle Eastern markets in which MTN operates would create further opportunity for growth. Informa further estimates that a merged MTN/Bharti Airtel entity could have 302 million subscriptions by the end of 2014.

ZTE will be one of the top three global GSM vendors in newly added markets in 2009, according to Frost & Sullivan. Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent accounted for 31 percent, 27 percent, 16 percent, 15 percent and 9 percent of the global market respectively in 2008, while the remaining vendors took up 2 percent of the market share. ZTE’s GSM shipments have grown the fastest over the past three years.