2007 Global Mobile Communications - Statistics, Trends & Forecasts

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide mobile communications industry, and includes statistics, analysis, trends and forecasts. It also provides an overview of regional mobile markets.

Subjects covered include:

  • Mobile infrastructure and developments;
  • Mobile revenue;
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and call charges;
  • Mobile subscriber statistics including prepaid;
  • Termination rates, roaming and Mobile Number Portability (MNP);
  • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO);
  • Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC);
  • Bluetooth & Ultra Wide-band (UWB);
  • Mobile spectrum;
  • Mobile Satellite Services (MSS);
  • Regional overviews.

Executive Summary

Competition will continue to increase in the telecommunications sector because users of all forms of technologies continue to grow, especially in personal communications. This applies to the mobile industry, where mobile subscribers have more than doubled in the last five years or so. As more participants enter the mobile market, and the convergence of fixed and mobile continues, this competitive pressure will escalate.

Already, call charges on average are dropping by around 15-20% per annum around the world. As would be expected, it is the markets with strong competition which have seen the most considerable drops in mobile call charges.

For the time being, the mobile industry will continue to revolve around voice services. The industry can still capture more of the voice market from the fixed networks, as the mobile phone is by far the preferred telephone choice for most consumers, and many countries now have more mobile than fixed telephone subscribers.

The emerging markets are also beginning to make their mark on the mobile sector, with many of the less mature regions around the world showing significant growth. This has slightly lifted the worldwide overall growth rate for the industry, and many markets, such as Asia Pacific, still have room for more growth ahead.

However, despite signs of growth, most of the worldwide market has experienced a decline in voice ARPU – with an overall drop of more than 10% in the past twelve months.

So while the role of 3G was initially seen as more about cannibalising traditional 2G services, the continuing roll-out of these services means it is time for mobile operators to start tapping into the new revenue streams that 3G offers – especially as there are not many other growth markets open to them at this time.

All roads for the future however, point to 4G as the end result. It will be a slow transition as there is a lack of real competition in the mobile industry; from contenders such as WiMAX. 3G will be with us longer than first predicted, but we should see 4G coming on the scene some time after 2010. A sign that 4G is the future was reinforced when five of the world’s largest cellular network operators formed an organisation to prepare for fourth generation wireless networks.

This report provides analysis, statistics, forecasts and trends on the mobile industry, including a brief overview of regional developments. It includes statistics on overall mobile subscribers, 3G, prepaid mobile, ARPU and mobile charges. Other topics covered include 4G, Bluetooth, spectrum trading, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), roaming, termination rates, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and Mobile Satellite Services (MSS).

Key highlights:

  • While voice still makes up the majority of mobile traffic around the world, there does seem to be a shift occurring with revenues from mobile data services rising.
  • There are over 2.6 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, and some of the more mature markets have over 100% penetration.
  • MVNO subscribers account for at least 3% of the world’s mobile subscriber base. They have only been reasonably successful in a few countries around the world, gaining between 8-10% market share in those markets.
  • CDMA growth has slowed down in the last couple of years, and its market penetration sits at around 13% - compared to around 80% for the dominant GSM. The market share of GSM is expected to grow even further as many CDMA operators transfer to GSM; and its penetration increases in the USA and developing markets.
  • 3G roll-outs are progressing, and a 10% penetration level has been reached in some of the countries that introduced it in the last five years.

3G worldwide subscribers by technology - mid-2006; beginning 2007

Technology Mid-2006
Subscribers (million)
Early 2007
Subscribers (million)
CDMA 2000 1x EVDO 25 45
Total 100 167
(Source: BuddeComm based on Wireless Intelligence and Strategy Analytics, 2006)
  • The major players in the MSS sector appear to be making a slight come back.
  • Strong growth for prepaid mobiles is expected to continue in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China; and it is expected that prepaid will play an increasingly important role in much of Asia.
  • In the developing market of Africa, 85% of all telephone lines are mobile, and the growing number of 3G mobile systems is beginning to fill another need that the continent is starved for: Internet access.
  • It is estimated that around $12 billion will be invested into Africa’s mobile market in the following three years to 2009, more than twice the amount going into fixed-line infrastructure development.
  • Increasingly saturated mobile markets in Eastern Europe are presenting fewer revenue growth opportunities for operators. While numerous 3G/HSDPA networks have been rolled out, the number of 3G subscribers is still low.

Table of Contents

1.1Telephone companies – experts in negative marketing
1.1.1Don’t use the phone
1.1.2Don’t use the mobile phone
1.1.3Don’t use the fixed phone
1.1.4The IP solution
1.2The future of voice
1.2.1Market under pressure
1.2.2Rearguard skirmishes in the voice market
1.2.3A neglected market
1.3The future of mobile
1.3.1Voice still the killer app
1.3.2But data is the future
1.3.3Rebalancing of the industry
1.3.4Devices-driven developments
1.3.5Only option in developing countries
1.3.6Multimodal services
1.4All roads lead to 4G
1.6Analysis of vendor merge – the future is IT, not telco
1.7Pricing strategies
1.7.1Telecoms price developments
1.7.2From bundling to triple play
1.7.3New ways to measure ARPUs
2.1Mobile – revenue
2.1.1Mobile usage and call charges overview
2.1.2Overview of ARPU developments
2.1.3ARPU statistics & forecasts
2.1.4Roaming - a billion dollar market
2.2Mobile statistics
2.2.1Subscriber growth
2.2.2Subscriber statistics and forecasts
2.2.3The effect of taxes on mobile subscription
3.1Introduction: mobile competition
3.1.1Lack of mobile competition (analysis)
3.2Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
3.2.1Termination charges
3.2.2MTR in Europe
3.3.2Users frustrated with mobile operators
3.3.3No optimal routing from GSM MoU
3.3.4Wireless VOIP coming to the rescue
3.3.5Interstandard roaming from Vodafone
3.4Number Portability (NP)
3.4.1NP is important to competition
3.4.2Key issues
3.4.3Portability strategies
3.4.4Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
4.1Prepaid mobile services
4.1.2Prepaid technologies
4.1.3ARPU comparisons with postpaid (analysis)
4.2Prepaid market overview
4.2.1Global prepaid market share
4.2.2Growth in emerging markets
4.2.3Prepaid revenues
4.2.4Mandatory registration
5.2Marketing considerations
5.3MVNO developments – analysis
5.3.1Growth inhibitors
5.3.2Multimodal services
5.3.3Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
5.4Key MVNO countries
5.4.1MVNOs in Europe
5.4.2MVNOs in US
5.5Content-orientated MVNOs
5.6MVNO subscribers and revenue
6.1Incentives to converge
6.2FMC versus Fixed-to-Mobile Substitution (FMS)
6.3Substitution well and truly underway
6.4Pricing – key to success
6.5Converging networks
6.6Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
6.7Converged fixed/mobile service in the UK
6.7.1BT Mobile Home Plan
6.7.2Fusion from BT
6.8Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FMCA)
6.9Unlicensed mobile Access (UMA)
6.10Mobile – the missing link
6.10.1Mobile forced to move into commodity territory
6.10.2Mobile companies failed to jump the S-curve
6.11New business models for mobile
6.11.1Restructuring overdue, but won’t happen soon
6.11.2Choices have to be made
6.11.3Vertical integration or permission based?
6.11.4Customer profiling
7.1.2CDMA and TDMA overview
7.1.3Market realities
7.1.5CDMA statistics
7.2.2GSM statistics and forecasts
7.2.3GSM developments
7.3Bluetooth & UWB
7.3.3Bluetooth and other technologies
7.3.4Bluetooth-UWB merger
7.3.5Market statistics
7.3.6Bluetooth technology
7.3.7Application examples
8.13G and transition to 4G
8.1.1The future of 3G
8.1.2The time for 3G has arrived, but no cheering from the operators
8.1.3The hard realities of the mobile market
8.1.4Slow start so far
8.1.5Will 3G survive as a separate business model?
8.1.6From 3G to 4G mobile
8.1.74G will be the end result
8.23G statistics and forecasts
8.2.1The future of 3G - analysis
8.2.3Published 3G statistics and forecasts
8.2.42006 report from Deutsche Bank Research
8.2.5Historical overview – 3G spectrum auctions
9.1Spectrum developments
9.2Radio spectrum utilisation
9.2.2Mobile satellite spectrum
9.3Spectrum auctions
9.3.1Developments in the US
9.3.2Developments in Europe
9.4Spectrum trading – analysis
10.2Major players
10.2.1Mobile Satellite Services (MSS)
10.3Satellite broadband turned the corner
10.4SIA – Overview of the 2005 market
10.5IPStar – a brief case study
10.62006 Statistics and forecasts
10.7Geostationary, LEO, MEO and HEO satellites
10.7.1The rise and fall of LEOs and MEOs
10.7.2First generation GEO satellites
10.8Direct Broadcasting Services (DBS)
10.8.2Multi-feed satellite dishes
10.9Co-ordination and regulation
11.1North America
11.2Latin America
11.2.2Mobile technologies
11.3.1Western Europe
11.3.2Eastern Europe
11.4Africa/Middle East
11.4.2Middle East
11.5.2Mobile data services
11.5.3Third Generation (3G) mobile
11.6Pacific region
11.6.2New Zealand
11.6.3South Pacific
Exhibit 1 –Top ten countries – new mobile connections – Sept 2005 - Sept 2006
Exhibit 2 – Regulatory regime for mobile interconnect tariffs – 2007
Exhibit 3 – Number portability – key considerations
Exhibit 4 – Countries with mobile numbering plans – January 2007
Exhibit 5 – Growth drivers for prepaid mobiles in emerging markets
Exhibit 6 – Comparative characteristics of an MVNO
Exhibit 7 – Variables that affect MVNO development
Exhibit 8 – UMA examples from the telecoms industry – 2004 - 2007
Exhibit 9 – WorldMode manufacturers – 2006
Exhibit 10 – TD-SCDMA technology
Exhibit 11 – Frequency bands for GSM
Exhibit 12 – Phases of CAMEL standardisation
Exhibit 13 – What is spectrum?
Exhibit 14 – Frequency bands and symbols
Exhibit 15 – International frequency assignment plan – 2110 - 2450MHz bands (excerpts)
Exhibit 16 – Possible bands for future spectrum auctions
Exhibit 17 – Summary of frequency resources for 3G in Europe – 2006
Exhibit 18 – Major non-USA communications satellites* – 2005
Exhibit 19 – WCDMA, 1xRTT, and 1x EVDO subscribers in Asia – September 2006

Table 1 – Average time spent on mobile phones vs fixed in the UK – 2001; 2005
Table 2 – Mobile ARPU for top three US companies – Q2 2006
Table 3 – ARPU of selected US operators and annual change – Q1 2006
Table 4 – Top ten operators with biggest decreases in annual ARPU – worldwide – Q1 2006
Table 5 – Top 15 global operators by change in ARPU – Q4 2005
Table 6 – ARPU for major mobile operators worldwide – Q2 2005
Table 7 – Average mobile ARPU by region and annual change – Q2 2004 - 2005
Table 8 – Mobile ARPU for selected companies – Q2 2004 - 2005
Table 9 – Mobile ARPU – voice and data for selected companies – Q3, 2005
Table 10 – ARPU and proportion of data to total revenue in Europe – September 2005
Table 11 – ARPU and proportion of data to total revenue – September 2005
Table 12 – Mobile subscribers by region – 1993 - 2006
Table 13 – Worldwide mobile subscribers and annual growth – 1993 - 2007
Table 14 – Top countries ranked by mobile penetration – 1998; 2001 - 2005
Table 15 – Regional mobile subscribers - CAGR – 2007 - 2011
Table 16 – Regional market share of new mobile connections – Sept 2005 - Sept 2006
Table 17 – Market share and number of prepaid subscribers worldwide – 2006 - 2010
Table 18 – Top 10 fastest growing operating groups worldwide – 2005
Table 19 – Proportionate subscribers by operator, global top 10 – 2005
Table 20 – Top 20 mobile subscriber countries by region – Q1 2005
Table 21 – Prepaid and total mobile subscribers by operator and annual change – Q2 2005
Table 22 – Global forecasts for mobile – 2005 - 2010
Table 23 – Mobile market share – 1992 - 2005
Table 24 – Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) by region – 2005
Table 25 – Mobile termination rates in Europe – 2006
Table 26 – Percentage of mobile numbers ported in Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, US – 2006
Table 27 – Prepaid market share in Brazil, India, China
Table 28 – Market share and number of prepaid subscribers worldwide – 2006 - 2010
Table 29 – Prepaid market share in various countries – 2004
Table 30 – Top 10 operators by prepaid growth – Q3 2006
Table 31 – Prepaid revenue estimates by region – 2005 - 2008
Table 32 – Number of MVNO subscribers – Virgin Mobile, Telmore – 2006
Table 33 – MVNO subscribers worldwide – 2005; 2006; 2012
Table 34 – MVNO revenue worldwide – 2006; 2012
Table 35 – Fixed versus mobile telephony – 1991 - 2006
Table 36 – World mobile subscribers by technology – June 2006
Table 37 – CDMA worldwide subscribers – 2000 - 2006
Table 38 – Growth of GSM market – 1994; 1997; 1999 - 2001; 2003 - 2006
Table 39 – World mobile subscribers by technology – June 2006
Table 40 – GSM subscribers by region – 2006
Table 41 – Hutchison’s largest 3G markets by subscribers
Table 42 – 3G worldwide subscribers by technology – mid-2006; beginning 2007
Table 43 – 3G subscriber forecasts for all technologies – 2007; 2010
Table 44 – Growth of worldwide 3G subscribers – 2001 - 2007
Table 45 – Regional share of WCDMA subscribers – 2006
Table 46 – 3G subscribers – top three countries – 2003 - 2005
Table 47 – 3G subscribers in Asia-Pacific countries (excl Japan) – 2004; 2009
Table 48 – WCDMA subscribers by country – 2003 - 2004
Table 49 – 3G penetration in the top fivecountries – 2005
Table 50 – 3G spectrum licence cost per capita – 2000 - 2001
Table 51 – Major global fixed satellite service operators – 2006
Table 52 – Number of regional/national satellite operators – 2006
Table 53 – Orbital satellite launches by year – 1996 - 2006
Table 54 – Orbital satellite launches by country – 2006
Table 55 – USA average local monthly bill & average local call length – 1995 - 2006
Table 56 – Canadian wireless revenues – 2005
Table 57 – Forecast subscriber and revenue growth in Canada – 2007 - 2010
Table 58 – Latin America mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 1998 - 2006
Table 59 – Latin America mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration by country – September 2006
Table 60 – Latin America subscriber distribution by country - 2005 - 2006
Table 61 – Subscribers, annual change and market share of Latin America operators – Sep 2006
Table 62 – Latin America technology, market share and annual change – 2005 - 2006
Table 63 – Europe voice market (billion minutes) – 2000; 2005; 2010
Table 64 – African mobile subscriber growth and penetration – 1998 - 2006
Table 65 – Mobile subscriber growth in Asia – 1990; 1995; 2000 - 2006
Table 66 – 3G WCDMA subscriber growth in Asia – 2004 - 2006
Table 67 – Australia mobile market subscribers, penetration and annual change – 2000 - 2008
Table 68 – Australia blended ARPU (AU$ per month) by operator – 2003 - 2006
Table 69 – Australia mobile services market revenue per major operator – 2000 - 2008*

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Annual Publication Profile


Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)

Number of pages 164

Status Archived

Last updated 27 Feb 2007
Update History

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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