The wireless telecommunications services industry is directly linked to the ubiquitous mobile phone, and increasingly other modern connected devices. As much of the developed world is experiencing market saturation, growth in mobile subscriptions is expected to come mainly from emerging markets in Africa and Asia. Industry growth in those regions is driven by large and relatively young populations, fast GDP growth, and limited fixed line infrastructure.
Global industry revenues in 2016 reached $1.05 trillion, a figure that is expected to grow to $1.14 trillion by 2020, according to GSMA Intelligence. Mobile connections worldwide total about 7.9 billion, the equivalent of more than one subscription per human. (Some people have multiple subscriptions and devices.) Top countries by number of wireless subscriptions include China, India, the US, Indonesia, and Brazil, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
As market saturation is reached, growth rates will continue to fall in both developed and developing countries. About two-thirds of the world's population had a wireless subscription at the end of 2016, a share that is forecast to reach nearly 75% by 2020. Mobile phone users worldwide are increasingly switching to smartphones as devices become more affordable. Soaring usage of data services and the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) are primary growth drivers for wireless providers worldwide as mobile video and other entertainment consumption continues to increase.
The industry includes companies that operate wireless telecommunications networks and related facilities. Companies that...