Global Mobile Operators - Regional Leaders - Overview and Statistics

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 countries including: South Africa; China; India; Australia; Fiji; Papua New Guinea; USA; France; Bahrain and Brazil.
  • Information and statistics on the major mobile operators and MVNOs (where applicable) operating in each country.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Phil Harpur, Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- March 2017 (2nd Edition)

Executive Summary

International expansion has strengthened the operations of many mobile operators

In 2017 the global mobile market has its sights firmly set on the opportunities offered through mobile data as well as looking for potential new revenues streams presented by the enterprise sector, data mining, 5G and international expansion.

Mobile saturation has occurred in many of the developed markets and this has forced some of the operators to look for new opportunities – particularly those offered by expanding regionally or internationally. This has occurred in most regions of the world – and as a result some operators have become powerful and dominant regional leaders.

In Latin America, for example, the mobile market continues to be dominated by a small number of operators which each have businesses in multiple countries.  These include Telefónica Group; Mexico’s América Móvil, trading as Telcel in its domestic market and as Claro in the remaining 16 markets in the region; Telecom Italia, AT&T Mexico and Millicom International. The dominance of these operators is being gradually eroded however as a result of efforts by a number of national regulators to facilitate the entry of MVNOs and to encourage the participation of smaller players in spectrum auctions.

In the more developed markets of Asia, growth is shifting away from a focus on subscriber numbers  and towards the expansion of new generation platforms and increased data usage driven by value-added services and increased ARPUs. There are those companies such as SingTel, Vodafone, and Axiata (formerly Telekom Malaysia International) that have built a substantial presence around the Asian region beyond their own domestic market through their shareholdings in operators in multiple other markets.

In the Pacific region; the Australian mobile market is dominated by the three major mobile network operators Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone (VHA), though there are numerous MVNOs which have a significant market share. These have been able to offer LTE services on a wholesale basis since early 2016, thus encouraging growth in the LTE sector and cementing the role which MVNOs play in the overall market.

Fiji is one of the telecoms leaders in the South Pacific region, along with Papua New Guinea. Similar to many developing nations, it is heavily reliant on mobile technologies rather than fixed lines. The percentage of unique mobile subscribers in Fiji sits at around 69%. Vodafone Fiji Limited (VFL) and Digicel Fiji are the major mobile operators and the only MVNO is Australian company, Inkk Mobile which operates on VFL’s network.

Three mobile service operators provide services in Papua New Guinea including Digicel, Bmobile (Vodafone), and Citifon (Telikom PNG). However, in February 2017 it was announced that Dataco, Bmobile and Telikom PNG would be merged together to form Kumul Telikom. The three entities would be able to share resources and infrastructure, making it potentially more cost effective and competitive.

Although there are a large number of network operators across the African continent, and also smaller niche MVNO players, there are also a small number of pan-regional network operators. These include Millicom, Orange Group, Vodacom and Bharti Airtel. Some rationalisation of their operations continues as these players adjust their strategies to fit in with market positions and expectations.

There are a number of companies which have a large presence in the Middle East. Zain, Ooredoo and MTN are three examples of companies operating in multiple markets and the international players of Orange and Vodafone also operate in region.

As with Latin America and Africa, the European region is notable for having half a dozen pan-European operators with interests in several key markets. These main players include Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Vodafone Group, Hutchison and TeliaSonera. There has been much jostling among these operators as they seek to strengthen their presence in particular markets. This has in turn caused some disquiet among national regulators and European competition authorities, which are keen to preserve a quorum of key players (generally four) within a given market.

This BuddeComm publication provides a global overview of the mobile market, supported by statistics as well as an overview of the mobile markets for each major region of the world. Country case studies for each region are also included, along with identification of the major MNOs and MVNOs operating in each region/country.

Key developments:

  • Data mining will be the next driver of mobile revenue;
  • Mobile operators need to rethink their business models;
  • For new ideas, the industry should look towards the OTT players;
  • Operators in Latin America will need to invest in LTE infrastructure and enhance their mobile data and broadband offerings in a bid to secure revenue growth;
  • Whilst there are still developing markets in Asia which are continuing to grow their mobile subscriber base at high annual rates, total market growth in the region has eased considerably in the last few years. This is not surprising given that a significant number of markets have well and truly saturated over the last year or so.
  • Digicel, which has an expanding business across Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific, built a $500 million mobile network in PNG, becoming the country’s largest non-mining investor;
  • Although ARPU remains relatively low for operators, considering the level of disposable income in the region, Africa remains a key area for investment among players;
  • There are several dozen MVNOs in the US market, most of them small and with a regional focus;
  • While population increases across Europe mean that there is a steady influx of new mobile subscribers, the market has a sufficiently high penetration rate that growth is largely lateral, in that subscribers are migrating from 2G to 3G and LTE networks. As a result, the proportion of 2G subscribers is falling sharply, and while there remains steady, if slow, growth in the 3G sector this will also begin to fall from late 2017 or 2018 as subscribers shift to LTE networks. This movement is being encouraged by network operators which hope to capitalise on revenue derived from greater take-up of mobile broadband and data services;
  • Although MVNOs were late to arrive in the Middle East, several have launched services and captured market share. FRiENDi and Virgin Mobile MEA are two notable MVNOs which operate in several markets and there are a number of domestic players as well.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Global mobile market - trends and statistics
    • 1.1 Analysis of the global mobile industry
      • 1.1.1 Global mobile market analysis 2017
      • 1.1.2 Can mobile operators afford a mobile-only strategy?
      • 1.1.3 The spectrum issue
    • 1.2 Key global mobile statistics and operators
      • 1.2.1 Global mobile subscriptions
      • 1.2.2 Global mobile broadband statistics
      • 1.2.3 Financial insights
      • 1.2.4 Mobile data traffic
      • 1.2.5 Leading global carriers
  • 2. Latin America mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 2.1 Introduction
    • 2.2 Statistical overview of operator subscribers
    • 2.3 Brazil
      • 2.3.1 Market analysis
      • 2.3.2 Mobile statistics
    • 2.4 Brazil MNOs
      • 2.4.1 Vivo (Telefônica Brasil)
      • 2.4.2 TIM Brasil
      • 2.4.3 Claro Brazil
      • 2.4.4 Oi
      • 2.4.5 Nextel Brasil
      • 2.4.6 CTBC/Algar Telecom
      • 2.4.7 Sercomtel Celular
      • 2.4.8 Unicel/Aeiou (defunct)
    • 2.5 Brazil MVNOs
  • 3. Asia mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 3.1 Introduction
    • 3.2 Market analysis
    • 3.3 Market statistics
      • 3.3.1 Top Asian Countries by mobile subscribers
      • 3.3.2 China
      • 3.3.3 India
      • 3.3.4 Top Asian countries by mobile penetration
      • 3.3.5 Top Asian mobile operators by subscribers
  • 4. Pacific mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 4.1 Australia
      • 4.1.1 Market analysis
      • 4.1.2 Subscriber statistics
      • 4.1.3 Intensifying market competition
    • 4.2 Fiji
      • 4.2.1 Introduction
      • 4.2.2 Market analysis
      • 4.2.3 Mobile statistics
    • 4.3 Fiji MNOs
    • 4.4 Papua New Guinea
      • 4.4.1 Introduction
      • 4.4.2 Market analysis
      • 4.4.3 Mobile statistics
    • 4.5 Papua New Guinea MNOs
  • 5. Africa mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 Market analysis
    • 5.3 Mobile statistics
    • 5.4 South Africa
      • 5.4.1 Market analysis
      • 5.4.2 Mobile statistics
    • 5.5 South Africa MNOs
      • 5.5.1 Vodacom South Africa
      • 5.5.2 MTN South Africa
      • 5.5.3 Cell C
      • 5.5.4 Telkom Mobile (8ta)
    • 5.6 South Africa MVNEs
    • 5.7 South Africa MVNOs
  • 6. North America mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 6.1 USA
    • 6.2 USA MNOs
      • 6.2.1 Industry body
      • 6.2.2 AT&T
      • 6.2.3 Verizon Wireless
      • 6.2.4 T-Mobile US
      • 6.2.5 Sprint Corporation
    • 6.3 USA MVNOs
  • 7. Europe mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Market analysis
      • 7.2.1 Competition concerns central to M&A activity
      • 7.2.2 Investment considerations
    • 7.3 France
      • 7.3.1 Market analysis
      • 7.3.2 Mobile statistics
    • 7.4 France MNOs
      • 7.4.1 Orange
      • 7.4.2 Network contracts
      • 7.4.3 JV with Deutsche Telekom (DT)
      • 7.4.4 SFR Group
      • 7.4.5 Free Mobile
      • 7.4.6 Bouygues Telecom
    • 7.5 France MVNOs
  • 8. Middle East mobile operators and MVNOs
    • 8.1 Introduction
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Mobile subscriber statistics
      • 8.1.3 Middle East – leading mobile operators by country
    • 8.2 Bahrain
      • 8.2.1 Market analysis
      • 8.2.2 Mobile statistics
    • 8.3 Bahrain MNOs
      • 8.3.1 Batelco
      • 8.3.2 Zain Bahrain
      • 8.3.3 Viva Bahrain / STC Bahrain
      • Table 1 – Global – mobile subscriptions, annual change and unique subscribers – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 2 – Regional - mobile subscribers – 2009 – 2015
      • Table 3 – Global – mobile broadband market share by technology – 2015
      • Table 4 – Global – mobile broadband subscribers – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 5 –Regional – mobile broadband penetration – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 6 –Regional – mobile broadband active subscriptions – 2014; 2015
      • Table 7 – Top fifteen OECD countries by mobile broadband subscriptions – Mid 2016
      • Table 8 – Global – mobile CAPEX – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 9 – Global – telecoms CAPEX – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 10 – Global - mobile revenue – 2014 - 2020
      • Table 11 – Global - mobile data traffic – 2000 - 2022
      • Table 12 – Regional - mobile data traffic growth forecast – 2014 - 2019
      • Table 13 – Global top 20 mobile operators by connections and revenue – Mid 2015
      • Table 14 – Global - top 16 mobile parent carriers by subscribers – 2014
      • Table 15 – Latin America - major mobile operators – subscribers – 2010 – 2015
      • Table 16 – Latin America - América Móvil subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 17 – Latin America - Telefónica subscribers - 2010 - 2015
      • Table 18 – Latin America - Telecom Italia subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 19 – Latin America - Millicom International Cellular subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 20 – Latin America - Digicel Group – subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 21 – Brazil - historic - mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1997 - 2009
      • Table 22 – Brazil - mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010- 2018
      • Table 23 – Brazil - mobile prepaid/postpaid ratio – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 24 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Brazil – major operators – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 25 – Brazil - mobile broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 26 – Brazil- average mobile broadband speed – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 27 – Brazil - mobile broadband accesses by major operator – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 28 – Brazil - mobile broadband accesses by minor operator – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 29 – Brazil -3G/mobile broadband market share by operator – 2009 – 2016
      • Table 30 – Brazil - mobile operators’ market share – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 31 – LTE subscriber market share by operator – 2014 – 2016
      • Table 32 – Vivo mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 33 – Vivo/Telemig– mobile subscribers (historic) – 2002 - 2007
      • Table 34 – Vivo mobile revenue (R$) – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 35 – Vivo financial data (€) – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 36 – TIM Brasil – mobile financial data – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 37 – TIM Brasil – mobile financial data (€) – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 38 – TIM Brasil – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 39 – Claro Brazil mobile revenue – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 40 – Claro Brazil – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 41 – Oi mobile revenue – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 42 – Oi – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 43 – Oi/Amazônia/BrT – mobile subscribers –2002 - 2008 (historic)
      • Table 44 – NII Holdings mobile revenue (R$) – 2012 - 2015
      • Table 45 – Nextel Brazil revenue ($) – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 46 – Nextel Brazil – mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 47 – Algar Telecom mobile revenue – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 48 – Algar Telecom mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 49 – Sercomtel – mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 50 – Brazil - MVNO subscribers – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 51 – Port Seguro mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 52 – Datora mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 53- Asia – total mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 54 – Top fifteen countries in Asia by mobile subscribers – 2011- 2016
      • Table 55 – Top fifteen countries in Asia by mobile penetration - 2011 - 2016
      • Table 56 – Asia - top mobile operators by subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 57 – Australia - mobile subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2000 - 2017
      • Table 58 – Australia - total mobile services market revenue and annual change – 2010 – 2016
      • Table 59 – Australia - mobile subscriber gains and losses by MNO – 2009 – 2014
      • Table 60 - Fiji - mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 61 - Fiji - mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 62 –Vodafone Fiji Limited revenue – 2011; 2013; 2015
      • Table 63 – Estimated Vodafone Fiji Limited ARPU – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 64 - Vodafone Fiji Limited prepaid versus postpaid subscribers – 2009 - 2014
      • Table 65 – Papua New Guinea -historic – mobile subscriptions and penetration - 1997 - 2009
      • Table 66 – Papua New Guinea - mobile subscriptions and penetration – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 67 – Papua New Guinea - active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 68 – Digicel PNG financials – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 69 – Digicel PNG mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 70 – Africa - active mobile subscribers in selected countries – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 71 – Africa - active mobile penetration in selected countries – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 72 – South Africa - mobile revenue by sector – 2015
      • Table 73 – South Africa - historic - mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 74 – South Africa - mobile subscribers and penetration rate in South Africa – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 75 – Vodacom South Africa mobile revenue – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 76 – Vodacom South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 77 – Vodacom South Africa mobile data subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 78 – Vodacom South Africa key statistics – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 79 – MTN South Africa subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 80 – MTN South Africa financial data – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 81 – MTN South Africa key statistics – quarter ended June 2016
      • Table 82 – Cell C mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 83 – Telkom mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 84 – Telkom mobile financial data – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 85 – Telkom mobile ARPU – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 86 – Telkom fixed and mobile data traffic – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 87 – AT&T wireless financial data – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 88 – AT&T wireless subscribers – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 89 – Verizon wireless financial data by sector – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 90 – Verizon wireless subscribers – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 91 – T-Mobile US wireless subscribers – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 92 – T-Mobile US own-branded subscribers – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 93 – T-Mobile US ARPU (€, annualised) – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 94 – T-Mobile US ARPU ($, annualised) – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 95 – T-Mobile US financial data – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 96 – MetroPCS financial data – 2007 - 2012
      • Table 97 – MetroPCS subscribers – 2007 - 2012
      • Table 98 – Sprint financial data – 2009 - 2016
      • Table 99 – Sprint subscribers – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 100 – Sprint blended ARPU – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 101 – Europe - incumbent MNOs’ market share - 2015
      • Table 102 – Europe - SIM penetration by country – 2012 – 2016
      • Table 103 – France - mobile sector investment – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 104 – France - mobile retail revenue – 1998 - 2017
      • Table 105 – France - Average monthly bill, ARPU - 2006 - 2016
      • Table 106 – France - historic - mobile subscribers (national, old format incl. M2M) and penetration rate – 1999 - 2014
      • Table 107 – France - mobile subscribers (national) and penetration rate – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 108 – France - mobile services traffic in minutes – 1998 - 2016
      • Table 109 – France - mobile voice traffic in minutes by type (quarterly) – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 110 – France - annual mobile voice traffic by type – 2008 – 2015
      • Table 111 – France - mobile operator market share – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 112 – France - prepaid and contract subscribers (old format national, incl. M2M) – 2005 – 2014
      • Table 113 – France - proportion of prepaid versus contract subscribers – 1999 - 2016
      • Table 114 – France - prepaid and contract subscribers (national, excl. M2M) – 2011 – 2016
      • Table 115 – Orange mobile subscribers (France) – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 116 – Orange blended, contract, prepaid ARPU (Q4) – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 117 – Orange mobile consumer revenue – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 118 – Orange mobile customer churn – 2003 – 2016
      • Table 119 – Orange mobile customer acquisition costs – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 120 – SFR mobile annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 121 – SFR revenue (historic) – 2004 - 2013
      • Table 122 – SFR subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 123 – Free Mobile mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 124 – Free Mobile mobile revenue – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 125 – Bouygues Telecom subscribers – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 126 – Bouygues Telecom mobile ARPU – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 127 – Bouygues Telecom financial data – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 128 – France - MNO and MVNO subscribers (metropolitan) – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 129 – France - MVNO market share (metropolitan) – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 130 – Middle East – mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration by country – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 131 – Middle East - leading mobile operators by subscribers and country
      • Table 132 – Bahrain - telecom sector revenue – 2006 - 2014
      • Table 133 – Bahrain - telecom sector revenue breakdown – 2012 - 2014
      • Table 134 – Historic – Bahrain - mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
      • Table 135 – Bahrain - mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2016
      • Table 136 – Mobile market revenue – 2007 - 2014
      • Table 137 – Mobile monthly ARPU – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 138 – Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 – Q1 2015
      • Table 139 – Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2014
      • Table 140 – Batelco total group mobile subscribers – 2005 – Q2 2016
      • Table 141 – Zain Bahrain – revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 – 2015
      • Chart 1 – Global – mobile subscriptions – 2012 - 2017
      • Chart 2 – Evolution of Brazil’s mobile subscriber base – 2000 - 2018
      • Chart 3 – Evolution of mobile ARPU in Brazil – major operators – 2009 – 2016
      • Chart 4 – Australia - mobile market subscribers, penetration rate and annual change – 2005 - 2017
      • Chart 5 – Australia - mobile subscriber gains and losses by MNO – 2010 – 2016
      • Chart 6 – France - Average monthly bill and ARPU - 2006 – 2016
      • Chart 7 – France - mobile subscribers (national) and penetration rate – 2011 – 2017
      • Chart 8 – France - mobile operator market share – 2005 – 2016
      • Chart 9 – Orange mobile subscribers (France) – 2005 – 2016
      • Chart 10 – Orange blended, contract, prepaid ARPU – 2005 – 2016
      • Chart 11 – Orange mobile customer acquisition costs – 2007 - 2016
      • Chart 12 – SFR subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Chart 13 – Bouygues Telecom financial data – 2005 – 2016
      • Chart 14 – France - MNO, MVNO subscribers (metropolitan) – 2005 - 2015
      • Chart 15 - Middle East - mobile subscribers by country – 2014 - 2016
      • Exhibit 1 – 5G
      • Exhibit 2 – Global content delivery ecosystem
      • Exhibit 3 – Software Defined Networks
      • Exhibit 4 – Subdivision of Brazil into regions and areas for mobile licensing
      • Exhibit 5 – Vivo – concessions
      • Exhibit 6 – TIM Brasil – concession awards for frequency bands A, B, D, E
      • Exhibit 7 – Claro Brazil – concessions
      • Exhibit 8 – Oi – concession awards for frequency bands A, D, E, M
      • Exhibit 9 – VSAT connects remote Manus Islands
      • Exhibit 10 – Mobile operators and technology used
      • Exhibit 11 – France - operating MVNOs and network provider

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Number of pages 130

Status Current

Last updated 21 Mar 2017
Update History

Lead Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Contributing Analysts:

Phil Harpur
Paul Budde
Henry Lancaster

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