BuddeComm Intelligence Report - The Global Mobile Market in 2020 - Industry Trends and Statistics

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Last updated: 24 Mar 2020 Update History

Report Status: Current

Report Pages: 49

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo


The global mobile industry is poised for evolution with the development of 5G well underway. However in 2020 the telecoms operators have turned their attention to the new challenges presented by the unfolding CoronaVirus outbreak and its multi-faceted impact on telecoms services, equipment production, infrastructure development and the global economy in general.

The telecoms industry also plays a key role in disaster management and there are many examples in recent history of ICT services and equipment being used to assist in the response to natural disasters and humanitarian issues. In the current crisis, there is already increased demand being placed on mobile infrastructure due to a rise in telemedicine use and citizens using it for increased communication while self-isolated.

Looking beyond the Coronavirus - we see both a transformation and disruption occurring to both the mobile sector and many associated industries with the deployment of 5G. The industry is continuing to prepare the backbone infrastructure for 5G with investment being directed towards deploying and upgrading 4G LTE technology - as it is core component for underpinning 5G. Capital expenditure is being focused towards deploying fibre-based broadband networks, as these will also be required for 5G.

BuddeComm notes that ultimately, the operators are very focused on the bottom-line and increasing revenues is a top priority given the number of markets which are now saturated in terms of mobile subscriber growth.

In the emerging markets, which often still rely heavily on 3G, and even 2G technology; we are seeing a resurgence in the use of mobile satellite for such areas. The global governing industry bodies, like the United Nations and Global Mobile Suppliers Association, are very keen to see the emerging markets gain access to improved mobile services to ensure they have access to important social and economic communications and services.

This BuddeComm report explores the key issues impacting upon the global mobile industry and is supported by key subscriber statistics for both mobile and mobile broadband. The report provides global statistics on mobile technologies, mobile revenue and CAPEX and mobile data.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains all around the world. During this time, the telecoms sector may experience a downturn in mobile device and ICT equipment production and a decline in consumer spending on telecoms services. Overall progress towards 5G may also be postponed or slowed down in some countries. Please also note: Industry forecasts contained in this report have not taken Coronavirus into consideration as it is yet largely unknown what the long-term impact will be.

For further information on 5G, see separate report: BuddeComm Intelligence Report - 5G Global Trends and Leading Regional Countries.

Kylie Wansink, 2020

Key developments:

  • Mobile penetration continues to vary widely throughout the world in 2020.
  • There are a large number of consumers with multiple mobile subscriptions globally.
  • The recent outbreak of the new global strain of Coronavirus is impacting upon production and supply chains all around the world. This includes the mobile devices sector and its associated equipment and services.
  • With large parts of the global population in self isolation, there may be added demands on high-speed mobile and broadband services and infrastructure.
  • While 4G LTE has a good penetration in many markets of the world; there are some developing countries where there is still a mix of 2G and 3G networks in use, especially in more rural and poorer districts.
  • Low cost affordable handsets and second-hand devices are also popular in the emerging markets.
  • The number of Wi-Fi hotspot around the world continues to grow, driven by the consumers, businesses, Wi-Fi providers, and Telecom operators.

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