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2007 Global Mobile Communications - Statistics, Trends & Forecasts

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 27 Feb 2007 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 164

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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)
WCDMA/UMTS 75 122
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.

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