Five Billion Mobiles Worldwide By 2012

According to Informa Telecoms & Media's Global Mobile Forecasts, annual revenues from the global mobile market will top (US) $1.03 trillion by 2013, when the number of subscriptions worldwide will have risen to more than 5.3 billion. It took over 20 years to reach 3 billion subscriptions, says the report, but another 1.9 billion net additions are forecast in just six years, with the global total nudging past the 5-billion milestone in 2011.

With this extraordinary growth, total annual revenues derived from mobile operators will grow by over a third, jumping from $769 billion in 2007 to $1.03 trillion six years later.

Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts 78% of global net additions between 2007 and 2013 to come from markets in Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

  • 47% of the 1.9 billion global net adds will come from just five markets - India, China, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia.
  • The mature markets of North America and Western Europe will contribute just 8% of total global net adds, reflecting the high level of saturation in these markets.

Globally, subscription penetration will approach the 75% mark in 2013, while some countries will push past the 150% barrier:

  • Romania (152%)
  • Russia (153%)
  • Italy (168%)
  • Ukraine (173%)
  • Greece (183%)

Growth in subscriptions (the number of SIMs) will outstrip growth in subscribers (the number of unique users), pointing to greater mutli-SIM ownership, says the report. The global ratio of subscriptions to subscribers will increase from 1.29 in 2007 to 1.32 in 2013. In Western Europe, the ratio will reach 1.55 in 2013, and even higher (1.75) in Eastern Europe.

Chris Stamatakis, research analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, says "... reductions in voice tariffs... low-denomination prepaid top-ups... and... availability of cheap 2G and 2.5G handsets will open... mobile services to low-income, low-ARPU subscribers who have never previously owned a mobile phone."

With voice revenue streams diminishing, industry players will encourage data spend among subscribers by innovating in non-voice services and differentiating their data service offerings from those of their competitors.

  • 2G will remain the dominant technology generation by subscription numbers until 2013, as its market share will fall from 66.9% in 2007 to 32.7% in 2013, as 3G+ technologies gain ground.
  • 3.5G technologies accounted for just 1.2% of total subscriptions in 2007, but will represent 22.9% of the global subscription base by 2013 and exceed the number of 3G subscriptions.

Stamatakis concludes that "... with migration to next-generation technologies already under way... (we) expect operators to focus increasingly on fulfilling consumers' growing demand for mobile broadband... becoming the long-sought killer app for mobile operators."

For more information from Informa, please visit here.

Next story loading loading..