Understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on the telecom industry!

Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.

See updated country reports

2016 Global Mobile Operators - Regional Leaders - Overview and Statistics

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 30 Mar 2016 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 135

Lead Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Contributing Analysts: Peter Evans, Phil Harpur, Paul Kwon, Paul Budde, Henry Lancaster

Publication Overview

Mobile developments continue to shape the global landscape and the mobile sector has become a critical element to most countries of the world, providing important social and economic benefits. Amongst this vibrant and competitive sector have emerged a number of countries, and in turn operators, which can be described as regional leaders in terms of size and mobile subscriber base. This report has selected a number of such countries to highlight and provide information and statistics on the major mobile operators and MVNOs. Subjects include:

  • Overview of global mobile market including key trends;
  • Key global telecoms statistics and identification of top global mobile carriers;
  • Regional mobile market overview for: Asia, Australia, North America, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Middle East;
  • Mobile market overview for the selected regional country including: Nigeria; China; Australia; USA; Russia; Germany; United Arab Emirates and Brazil.
  • Information and statistics on the major mobile operates and MVNOs operating in each country.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Paul Kwon, Phil Harpur, Peter Evans, Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- March 2016 (1st Edition)

Executive Summary

Competitive global mobile market sees the rise of regional leaders

The global mobile market has become far more competitive in most markets around the world due to liberalisation, the rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) providers and, in some cases, the introduction of MVNOs. In addition, as operators go hunting for new revenue streams, there has been much regional and international expansion occurring - along with consolidation.

Amongst this competitive and challenging environment, a number of countries and operators have emerged as stand-outs in the various regions. In this report, BuddeComm has selected a large mobile market from each region and provided information on the major mobile operators and MVNOs for each country. Countries selected for inclusion in this edition of the report include: Nigeria; China; Australia; USA; Russia; Germany; United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

Across Asia, a total of around 3.8 billion mobile subscribers are being served by a large number of mobile operators. The operators are continuing to drive the market, expanding it by between 5% and 10%. Whilst the overall growth rate in the region has moderated the sheer numbers are impressive. China, India and Indonesia are the leading countries in terms of mobile subscriber base and subsequently China Mobile, China Unicom and Bharti are the leading mobile operators based on subscribers.

In all but a few tightly controlled telecom markets in Africa there is effective competition between market operators. This is particularly evident in larger markets including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, which all also benefit from a vibrant MVNO presence. Many countries are also served by a small number of regional operators which have footprints across multiple countries. These include Orange, Bharti Airtel, Millicom (Tigo) and MTN. These operators can capitalise on scale, and deliver experience gained in one market to benefit deployment of services in another.

Latin America’s mobile market is dominated by four multinational operators, which together account for about 75% of the region’s subscribers. This proportion has been stable for a number of years but is being slowly eroded as regulatory measures facilitate the entry of MVNOs. In part this has been made possible by regulators setting aside auctioned spectrum for new market entrants, and by auction rules which oblige licensees of some spectrum bands to host MVNOs.

The USA has one of the largest mobile markets in the world. While still feeling the effects of the largest economic recession since the Great Depression, the US mobile market continues to grow strongly as the majority of the US population uses mobile phones and the popularity of mobile data services continues to grow unabated.

While mobile communications and broadband are driving Europe’s overall telecom sector, there remains a need for further investment in networks and spectrum to address consumer need for bandwidth. The German mobile market is the largest in Europe, with about 118 million subscribers generating the largest revenue in the telecom sector. In common with most markets the main area of growth is in mobile data, with the number of mobile broadband subscribers having increased rapidly in recent years on the back of extensively available 3G and LTE networks.

Russia’s mobile market is also one of the largest in Europe in terms of the number of subscribers. The market was long dominated by three major national mobile network operators (MNOs) while a number of other operators offering services at a regional level have undergone consolidation.

There are a number of countries across the Middle East offering progressive and increasingly competitive mobile markets. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, for example, offer highly competitive mobile markets while Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have high mobile penetration leading to an increased focused on mobile broadband offerings by the operators.

Key developments:

  • The top mobile operators in Asia have a combined market share of 70% of the total regional mobile subscriber base.
  • Mexico’s América Móvil is the largest player in the Latin American region, operating in a large number of countries. The second largest operator in Latin America remains Telefónica, operating under the Movistar brand in all markets except Brazil, where it operates under the Vivo brand.
  • South Africa’s MTN Group has operations in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
  • AT&T is the largest provider of mobile and fixed-line telephony services in the US.
  • The saturated mobile voice market in Western European countries has in recent years encouraged established mobile network operators (MNOs) to seek opportunities in Eastern European markets. This trend is expected to develop further in coming years as MNOs continue to face revenue pressure from regulatory measures and intense domestic competition.
  • All countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have extremely high mobile penetration, and the UAE is no exception – indeed, it boasts one of the world’s highest mobile penetration rates.

Related Reports

Share this Report

Purchase with Confidence

We wanted to extend our Com World Series of telecoms industry events to the South Pacific region and we were in urgent need of a partner in the region who could assist us with confirming the involvement of governments, telcos and more. Paul Budde and his team executed this perfectly. Paul also provided us with very high quality reports on every aspect of the project, including an amazingly thorough and actionable report on the conference presentations and discussion.

Joe Willcox, Commercial Content Director, Emap Connect, Emap

Research Methodology

BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

For more details, please see:

Research Methodology

Sample Reports

A selection of downloadable samples from our Annual Publications catalogue.

Download a Sample Report

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.