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2014 Global Mobile Communications - The Key Statistics, Trends and Regional Insights

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Last updated: 3 Mar 2014 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 144

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the global mobile sector and is a valuable resource of insights, examples, statistics and trends. The report provides valuable information on the global mobile communications industry including key industry statistics at a global and regional level; insights into the activities of the operators and identification of trends and opportunities. It also includes a global overview of handset, smartphone, touchscreen tablets and wearable technology. It provides insights into the BRIC markets and a case study on the emerging market of Myanmar.  It contains unique insights into regional developments written by BuddeComm’s Senior Analysts.

Subjects covered include:

  • Key global mobile industry statistics;
  • Global mobile smartphone, handset and touchscreen statistics and trends;
  • Insights into mobile spectrum issues;
  • Insights into the importance of managing customer expectation;
  • Information on global mobile tariffs, roaming and MTR trends;
  • Detailed case study on the emerging market of Myanmar;
  • Regional overviews for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Lucia Bibolini, Peter Evans, Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange
Current publication date:- March 2014 (13th Edition)

Executive Summary

The Global Mobile industry faces diverse opportunities and challenges in 2014

The ongoing development of wireless services offers the telecoms industry the largest ray of hope for growth in 2014. Mobile subscriptions are expected to surpass the actual world population due to the number of multiple subscriptions held by consumers and the developing markets will continue to offer opportunities for further growth. However the wireless sector is not without its challenges with the rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers the biggest threat to the traditional players going forward.

We already see interesting developments occurring as a result of the OTT players. For example both mobile VoIP apps and mobile Instant Messaging (IM) are OTT services representing a potential threat to mobile operators’ call revenues. Mobile VoIP has been under-development for a number of years and the offerings for these services have improved over time. Other forms of messaging beyond operator SMS are gaining ground as well, particularly free messaging services offered by social networks and free apps such as Whatsapp, for example.

It is expected that in the next couple of years; the mobile operators will lose billions in lost revenue to these new messaging services. Mobile operators do need to take the rise of mobile VoIP and OTT Instant Messaging seriously and consider pricing strategies to combat the threat - as the cheaper alternatives are bound to sway many users towards such service offerings. SMS which traditionally accounted for around 80% of overall messaging revenue is expected to decline and by 2015 will account for only around 60%.

Customer satisfaction is increasingly important for service differentiation between the competing mobile operators and we recognise that retaining customers in this competitive and economic environment is challenging. Bearing in mind that the cost of acquiring customers is expensive; reducing churn rates can offer significant savings to telcos. In addition, lowering roaming charges also encourages goodwill at both a regulatory and consumer level and lessens the chance of bill-shock. To improve the overall customer experience; operators need to focus on utilising the enormous amounts of customer data they have on hand (Big Data) as well as implement real-time analytics.

The popularity of mobile devices including smart phones, touch-screen tablets and the emerging wearable technologies market continues to grow steadily. However despite its phenomenal growth – which will continue for many years to come – the smartphone is set to eventually become a utility product. This will first emerge in the developed markets, where smartphone penetration is the highest. In the developing markets where the smartphone is only in its infancy, cheap models from China and India are set to dominate the markets.

Brazil, Russia, India and China have long been recognized as key markets for opportunities for telecoms – due partially to their large populations and increased globalization. In 2014 the industry is again focusing heavily on the BRIC markets. Over the last year or so, the international telecom community has also shown unprecedented interest in the emerging market of Myanmar (Burma). Major changes have taken place in Myanmar’s telecom sector and the government’s plans to liberalise the market have certainly moved quickly.

BuddeComm’s new report, Global Mobile Communications – Statistics, Trends and Regional Insights, provides important insights into the worldwide mobile communications industry and includes trends, analyses, statistics and unique regional insights for North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The report provides valuable information on the mobile communications industry including key industry statistics at a global and regional level; insights into the activities of the operators and identification of trends and opportunities. It also includes a global overview of handset, smartphone, touchscreen tablets and wearable technology. The report contains unique insights into regional developments written by BuddeComm’s experienced Senior Analysts, including insights into the BRIC markets and a case study on the emerging market of Myanmar. Please note: Mobile broadband is covered in detail in a separate annual publication.

Examples of key insights:

  • The smartphone is doing what the internet did in the 1960s, and the WWW in the 90s. It creates an open infrastructure, a platform that can be used by others to create new economic growth, better services, innovations, and in general increase the productivity that is needed to support the lifestyle people have become accustomed to.
  • Wearable technology is expected to be the next large growth area for consumer electronics with smart watches, fitness trackers, augmented reality glasses and remote home monitoring devices all emerging from this new sector.
  • A number of carriers are exploring the option of selling or leasing out their mobile towers in an attempt to monetize these assets. Telecom Italia and AT&T are two such carriers exploring this option, with AT&T leasing over 9,000 towers to Crown Castle and Telecom Italia expected to sell-off towers in Brazil and Italy during 2014.
  • A significant threat to the mobile industry is the limitations of the mobile broadband infrastructure. The industry can develop as many of the new applications and services it likes, but if the infrastructure cannot handle the capacity there will be little use for them. Developed markets are now eating up new spectrum with a voracious appetite.
  • In 2014 over 1.2 billion smart phones are expected to be shipped worldwide.
  • Overall mobile penetration in Asia had reached almost 90% coming into 2014.
  • Operators in the Middle East are facing uncertain times. With strong growth rates no longer guaranteed and intensified competition, in some cases pressure from regulators to reduce tariffs, operators have looked to diversify, either into other countries or fixed markets.
  • The US mobile sector has shown considerable growth in recent years, with penetration reaching about 117% by early 2014.
  • The Australian mobile communications market has undergone significant infrastructure activity during the last year from among the MNOs - with some of the results of that activity still to come to fruition further into 2014 and beyond.
  • Demand for smartphones in the New Zealand market has been led by Android devices since many of these are available at a lower price than the higher priced iPhone models.
  • Latin America is ahead of the world for average mobile penetration.
  • Although mobile communications have been driving Europe’s general telecom sector in recent years, accounting for over half of the sector’s overall revenue, it is facing a number of issues.
  • More than 95% of all telephone lines in the African continent are on mobile networks.

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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