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2011 Worldwide Telecoms - Key Statistics for a Changing Sector

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Last updated: 22 Jul 2011 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 160

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the global telecoms sector and is a valuable resource of key statistics, insights and trends. With a focus on telecoms services including mobile and Internet developments, the report explores the growth areas in the telecoms sector.

Subjects covered include:

  • Key global telecoms statistics at a glance;
  • Key mobile statistics and insights, including handsets;
  • Key mobile broadband statistics, including mobile messaging;
  • Key Internet use trends and statistics;
  • Insights into global VoIP market;
  • Insights into the rise of social media and gaming.

Researchers: Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde
Current publication date: July 2011 (8th Edition)

Executive Summary

Changes in global telecoms sector reflected in statistics and trends

The telecoms industry continues to transform and while the economic downturn persists; growth in many sectors of the vast telecoms industry continues. Consumers are still enamoured by mobile technology, with smart phones and improved infrastructure having fuelled the continuing uptake of mobility around the world. The number of Internet users also continues to increase as the penetration of both fixed and mobile broadband becomes more accessible. In addition, people are using the Internet differently than a few years ago, when search services were the primary activity. In 2011, the use of social media has become one of the most popular online activities.

The Internet browsers people like to use has also expanded; while for many years Internet Explorer (IE) was consistently the most popular browser worldwide with around 70% or more market share, this has now changed remarkably. More recent entrants like Firefox and Google Chrome now capture a large portion of this market.

Despite the saturation of the developed markets and economic downturn; mobile subscriber growth continues, mainly due to growth in the emerging markets. China and India offer much potential for future growth due to their large populations and BuddeComm predicts all of the low penetration level countries around the globe will see ongoing massive investments in cheap 2G infrastructure and cheap 2G mobile handsets for the near future. Both large carriers and private investors are showing enormous interest in the opportunities presented by these developing markets.

In 2011 mobile handset sales also continue to grow, although the rate has declined since 2010. Android Operating System (OS) is embedded in smart phones and continues to rise in popularity, overtaking the Apple iOS in terms of global market share.

Operators’ which have focused their attentions on the wireless sector, particularly in the emerging markets; have fared better than others which have continued focusing on saturated or wireline markets. Mobile ARPU levels differ widely between the regions of the world; however on the whole all regions have experienced declines in ARPU over the past few years – and this is set to continue in the current economic environment. International roaming charges and mobile termination rates have finally begun to drop due to both competition and the introduction of regulations/price capping.

The mobile broadband market is gaining momentum and the key reason for this growth is the fact that due to competition and a saturated mobile voice market, the operators have been forced to offer very competitive capped data packages. Non-SMS mobile data is now growing due to both the emergence of smart phones and better wireless broadband technologies. Mobile broadband apps in particular have been enthusiastically embraced by consumers around the world. A stream of new Apps and services are being released in areas entertainment, travel and finance and also m-health; m-education; m-social networking; m-gaming and so on. The key players in this market have emerged over the past couple of years and include both Internet media and mobile industry leaders.

Improved technology solutions have led to a robust VoIP market in recent years and this growth continues despite the economic downturn, due primarily to the fact that VoIP offers a cheaper alternative. While security and reliability concerns still need to be resolved; consumers and business are turning to VoIP in an effort to save costs and there are now millions of VoIP users worldwide. Japan, China and the USA continue to be some of the world’s hottest markets for IP telephony. Over the last couple years, Europe has also become a prime innovator in VoIP services, whether stand-alone, bundled as a triple play offer, or through fixed-mobile convergence packages. Mobile VoIP and international long distance services are also becoming a key area of focus, particularly in Europe and North America.

BuddeComm’s new report, Worldwide Telecoms – Key Statistics for a Changing Sector, provides an important insight into the trends occurring in the global telecoms sector. The report initially provides a summary of key worldwide telecoms statistics and trends, including the number of fixed lines; mobile subscribers; 3G subscribers; text messages sent; Internet users and worldwide broadband subscribers, including satellite services. The report also includes global financial data including worldwide telecoms capital expenditure (CAPEX) and overall telecoms spending and revenue. It identifies the top 25 carriers’ worldwide and top 15 carriers in emerging markets, along with outsourcing market statistics.

In addition, the report further explores the sector of mobile services, which is one of the key drivers of growth in the industry. Insights into the mobile industry include the number of subscribers worldwide; mobile handset trends and global mobile financial statistics. It provides information on mobile broadband trends, smart phones, mobile messaging and mobile apps. The popularity of the Internet continues to rise and this report provides a valuable overview of key trends in this sector such as worldwide users, popular search engines, websites and the growing use of VoIP, social media and gaming.

Examples of key insights:

  • Mobile subscribers have grown from less than 500 million subscribers in 1999 to well over 5 billion worldwide in 2011. In comparison there are around 1.1 billion fixed lines worldwide.
  • AT&T, NTT and Verizon are the top 3 carriers worldwide in terms of sales, however there are many carriers in emerging markets showing potential.
  • The use of VoIP services is becoming more popular and China has quickly established itself as the world’s biggest user of VoIP services.  
  • Facebook remains the global social media leader and has expanded its offerings beyond just social communication. However while Facebook has managed to capture the largest share of the market in recent years, the industry is not sitting still and new social networks are again emerging such as Google+.
  • Telecoms outsourcing has declined as companies focus on restructuring or negotiating existing contracts, rather than creating new deals.
  • The messaging industry generates hundreds of billions in revenue each year, with SMS/PSMS accounting for the majority; around 7 trillion text messages will be sent in 2011.
  • In 2011, global satellite industry revenue has more than doubled ($168 billion) since 2003 when revenue reached only $74 billion. Satellite services is leading growth in this sector.

Kylie Wansink

July 2011

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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