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2007 Global Mobile Communications - Statistics, Trends & Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide mobile communications industry, and includes statistics, analysis, trends and forecasts. It also provides an overview of regional mobile markets.

Subjects covered include:

  • Mobile infrastructure and developments;
  • Mobile revenue;
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and call charges;
  • Mobile subscriber statistics including prepaid;
  • Termination rates, roaming and Mobile Number Portability (MNP);
  • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO);
  • Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC);
  • Bluetooth & Ultra Wide-band (UWB);
  • Mobile spectrum;
  • Mobile Satellite Services (MSS);
  • Regional overviews.


Competition will continue to increase in the telecommunications sector because users of all forms of technologies continue to grow, especially in personal communications. This applies to the mobile industry, where mobile subscribers have more than doubled in the last five years or so. As more participants enter the mobile market, and the convergence of fixed and mobile continues, this competitive pressure will escalate.

Already, call charges on average are dropping by around 15-20% per annum around the world. As would be expected, it is the markets with strong competition which have seen the most considerable drops in mobile call charges.

For the time being, the mobile industry will continue to revolve around voice services. The industry can still capture more of the voice market from the fixed networks, as the mobile phone is by far the preferred telephone choice for most consumers, and many countries now have more mobile than fixed telephone subscribers.

The emerging markets are also beginning to make their mark on the mobile sector, with many of the less mature regions around the world showing significant growth. This has slightly lifted the worldwide overall growth rate for the industry, and many markets, such as Asia Pacific, still have room for more growth ahead.

However, despite signs of growth, most of the worldwide market has experienced a decline in voice ARPU - with an overall drop of more than 10% in the past twelve months.

So while the role of 3G was initially seen as more about cannibalising traditional 2G services, the continuing roll-out of these services means it is time for mobile operators to start tapping into the new revenue streams that 3G offers - especially as there are not many other growth markets open to them at this time.

All roads for the future however, point to 4G as the end result. It will be a slow transition as there is a lack of real competition in the mobile industry; from contenders such as WiMAX. 3G will be with us longer than first predicted, but we should see 4G coming on the scene some time after 2010. A sign that 4G is the future was reinforced when five of the world’s largest cellular network operators formed an organisation to prepare for fourth generation wireless networks.

This report provides analysis, statistics, forecasts and trends on the mobile industry, including a brief overview of regional developments. It includes statistics on overall mobile subscribers, 3G, prepaid mobile, ARPU and mobile charges. Other topics covered include 4G, Bluetooth, spectrum trading, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), roaming, termination rates, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and Mobile Satellite Services (MSS).

Key highlights:

While voice still makes up the majority of mobile traffic around the world, there does seem to be a shift occurring with revenues from mobile data services rising.

There are over 2.6 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, and some of the more mature markets have over 100% penetration.

MVNO subscribers account for at least 3% of the world’s mobile subscriber base. They have only been reasonably successful in a few countries around the world, gaining between 8-10% market share in those markets.

CDMA growth has slowed down in the last couple of years, and its market penetration sits at around 13% - compared to around 80% for the dominant GSM. The market share of GSM is expected to grow even further as many CDMA operators transfer to GSM; and its penetration increases in the USA and developing markets.

3G roll-outs are progressing, and a 10% penetration level has been reached in some of the countries that introduced it in the last five years.

The major players in the MSS sector appear to be making a slight come back.

Strong growth for prepaid mobiles is expected to continue in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China; and it is expected that prepaid will play an increasingly important role in much of Asia.

In the developing market of Africa, 85% of all telephone lines are mobile, and the growing number of 3G mobile systems is beginning to fill another need that the continent is starved for: Internet access.

It is estimated that around $12 billion will be invested into Africa’s mobile market in the following three years to 2009, more than twice the amount going into fixed-line infrastructure development.

Increasingly saturated mobile markets in Eastern Europe are presenting fewer revenue growth opportunities for operators. While numerous 3G/HSDPA networks have been rolled out, the number of 3G subscribers is still low.

1. MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS - ALL ROADS LEAD TO 4G
1.1 Telephone companies - experts in negative marketing
1.1.1 Don’t use the phone
1.1.2 Don’t use the mobile phone
1.1.3 Don’t use the fixed phone
1.1.4 The IP solution
1.2 The future of voice
1.2.1 Market under pressure
1.2.2 Rearguard skirmishes in the voice market
1.2.3 A neglected market
1.2.4 Developments
1.2.5 Click-to-Talk
1.3 The future of mobile
1.3.1 Voice still the killer app
1.3.2 But data is the future
1.3.3 Rebalancing of the industry
1.3.4 Devices-driven developments
1.3.5 Only option in developing countries
1.3.6 Multimodal services
1.4 All roads lead to 4G
1.5 VOIP
1.6 Analysis of vendor merge - the future is IT, not telco
1.7 Pricing strategies
1.7.1 Telecoms price developments
1.7.2 From bundling to triple play
1.7.3 New ways to measure ARPUs
1.8 Conclusion
2. MOBILE STATISTICS AND FORECASTS
2.1 Mobile - revenue
2.1.1 Mobile usage and call charges overview
2.1.2 Overview of ARPU developments
2.1.3 ARPU statistics & forecasts
2.1.4 Roaming - a billion dollar market
2.2 Mobile statistics
2.2.1 Subscriber growth
2.2.2 Subscriber statistics and forecasts
2.2.3 The effect of taxes on mobile subscription
3. MOBILE COMPETITION AND REGULATIONS
3.1 Introduction: mobile competition
3.1.1 Lack of mobile competition (analysis)
3.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
3.2.1 Termination charges
3.2.2 MTR in Europe
3.3 Roaming
3.3.1 Introduction
3.3.2 Users frustrated with mobile operators
3.3.3 No optimal routing from GSM MoU
3.3.4 Wireless VOIP coming to the rescue
3.3.5 Interstandard roaming from Vodafone
3.4 Number Portability (NP)
3.4.1 NP is important to competition
3.4.2 Key issues
3.4.3 Portability strategies
3.4.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
4. MOBILE PREPAID
4.1 Prepaid mobile services
4.1.1 Introduction
4.1.2 Prepaid technologies
4.1.3 ARPU comparisons with postpaid (analysis)
4.2 Prepaid market overview
4.2.1 Global prepaid market share
4.2.2 Growth in emerging markets
4.2.3 Prepaid revenues
4.2.4 Mandatory registration
5. MOBILE VIRTUAL NETWORK OPERATORS (MVNOS)
5.1 Definitions
5.2 Marketing considerations
5.3 MVNO developments - analysis
5.3.1 Growth inhibitors
5.3.2 Multimodal services
5.3.3 Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MVNEs)
5.4 Key MVNO countries
5.4.1 MVNOs in Europe
5.4.2 MVNOs in US
5.5 Content-orientated MVNOs
5.6 MVNO subscribers and revenue
6. FIXED MOBILE CONVERGENCE (FMC)
6.1 Incentives to converge
6.2 FMC versus Fixed-to-Mobile Substitution (FMS)
6.3 Substitution well and truly underway
6.4 Pricing - key to success
6.5 Converging networks
6.6 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
6.7 Converged fixed/mobile service in the UK
6.7.1 BT Mobile Home Plan
6.7.2 Fusion from BT
6.8 Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FMCA)
6.9 Unlicensed mobile Access (UMA)
6.10 Mobile - the missing link
6.10.1 Mobile forced to move into commodity territory
6.10.2 Mobile companies failed to jump the S-curve
6.11 New business models for mobile
6.11.1 Restructuring overdue, but won’t happen soon
6.11.2 Choices have to be made
6.11.3 Vertical integration or permission based?
6.11.4 Customer profiling
7. 2G INFRASTRUCTURE
7.1 CDMA, TDMA
7.1.1 Definition
7.1.2 CDMA and TDMA overview
7.1.3 Market realities
7.1.4 Technologies
7.1.5 CDMA statistics
7.2 GSM
7.2.1 Introduction
7.2.2 GSM statistics and forecasts
7.2.3 GSM developments
7.3 Bluetooth & UWB
7.3.1 Introduction
7.3.2 Analysis
7.3.3 Bluetooth and other technologies
7.3.4 Bluetooth-UWB merger
7.3.5 Market statistics
7.3.6 Bluetooth technology
7.3.7 Application examples
8. 3G INFRASTRUCTURE
8.1 3G and transition to 4G
8.1.1 The future of 3G
8.1.2 The time for 3G has arrived, but no cheering from the operators
8.1.3 The hard realities of the mobile market
8.1.4 Slow start so far
8.1.5 Will 3G survive as a separate business model?
8.1.6 From 3G to 4G mobile
8.1.7 4G will be the end result
8.2 3G statistics and forecasts
8.2.1 The future of 3G - analysis
8.2.2 Definitions
8.2.3 Published 3G statistics and forecasts
8.2.4 2006 report from Deutsche Bank Research
8.2.5 Historical overview - 3G spectrum auctions
9. MOBILE AND WIRELESS SPECTRUM
9.1 Spectrum developments
9.2 Radio spectrum utilisation
9.2.1 Overview
9.2.2 Mobile satellite spectrum
9.3 Spectrum auctions
9.3.1 Developments in the US
9.3.2 Developments in Europe
9.4 Spectrum trading - analysis
10. SATELLITE MOBILE SERVICES
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Major players
10.2.1 Mobile Satellite Services (MSS)
10.3 Satellite broadband turned the corner
10.4 SIA - Overview of the 2005 market
10.5 IPStar - a brief case study
10.6 2006 Statistics and forecasts
10.7 Geostationary, LEO, MEO and HEO satellites
10.7.1 The rise and fall of LEOs and MEOs
10.7.2 First generation GEO satellites
10.8 Direct Broadcasting Services (DBS)
10.8.1 Introduction
10.8.2 Multi-feed satellite dishes
10.9 Co-ordination and regulation
11. REGIONAL OVERVIEW
11.1 North America
11.1.1 USA
11.1.2 Canada
11.2 Latin America
11.2.1 Overview
11.2.2 Mobile technologies
11.3 Europe
11.3.1 Western Europe
11.3.2 Eastern Europe
11.4 Africa/Middle East
11.4.1 Africa
11.4.2 Middle East
11.5 Asia
11.5.1 Overview
11.5.2 Mobile data services
11.5.3 Third Generation (3G) mobile
11.6 Pacific region
11.6.1 Australia
11.6.2 New Zealand
11.6.3 South Pacific
12. GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS
Exhibit 1 -Top ten countries - new mobile connections - Sept 2005 - Sept 2006
Exhibit 2 - Regulatory regime for mobile interconnect tariffs - 2007
Exhibit 3 - Number portability - key considerations
Exhibit 4 - Countries with mobile numbering plans - January 2007
Exhibit 5 - Growth drivers for prepaid mobiles in emerging markets
Exhibit 6 - Comparative characteristics of an MVNO
Exhibit 7 - Variables that affect MVNO development
Exhibit 8 - UMA examples from the telecoms industry - 2004 - 2007
Exhibit 9 - WorldMode manufacturers - 2006
Exhibit 10 - TD-SCDMA technology
Exhibit 11 - Frequency bands for GSM
Exhibit 12 - Phases of CAMEL standardisation
Exhibit 13 - What is spectrum?
Exhibit 14 - Frequency bands and symbols
Exhibit 15 - International frequency assignment plan - 2110 - 2450MHz bands (excerpts)
Exhibit 16 - Possible bands for future spectrum auctions
Exhibit 17 - Summary of frequency resources for 3G in Europe - 2006
Exhibit 18 - Major non-USA communications satellites* - 2005
Exhibit 19 - WCDMA, 1xRTT, and 1x EVDO subscribers in Asia - September 2006


Table 1 - Average time spent on mobile phones vs fixed in the UK - 2001; 2005
Table 2 - Mobile ARPU for top three US companies - Q2 2006
Table 3 - ARPU of selected US operators and annual change - Q1 2006
Table 4 - Top ten operators with biggest decreases in annual ARPU - worldwide - Q1 2006
Table 5 - Top 15 global operators by change in ARPU - Q4 2005
Table 6 - ARPU for major mobile operators worldwide - Q2 2005
Table 7 - Average mobile ARPU by region and annual change - Q2 2004 - 2005
Table 8 - Mobile ARPU for selected companies - Q2 2004 - 2005
Table 9 - Mobile ARPU - voice and data for selected companies - Q3, 2005
Table 10 - ARPU and proportion of data to total revenue in Europe - September 2005
Table 11 - ARPU and proportion of data to total revenue - September 2005
Table 12 - Mobile subscribers by region - 1993 - 2006
Table 13 - Worldwide mobile subscribers and annual growth - 1993 - 2007
Table 14 - Top countries ranked by mobile penetration - 1998; 2001 - 2005
Table 15 - Regional mobile subscribers - CAGR - 2007 - 2011
Table 16 - Regional market share of new mobile connections - Sept 2005 - Sept 2006
Table 17 - Market share and number of prepaid subscribers worldwide - 2006 - 2010
Table 18 - Top 10 fastest growing operating groups worldwide - 2005
Table 19 - Proportionate subscribers by operator, global top 10 - 2005
Table 20 - Top 20 mobile subscriber countries by region - Q1 2005
Table 21 - Prepaid and total mobile subscribers by operator and annual change - Q2 2005
Table 22 - Global forecasts for mobile - 2005 - 2010
Table 23 - Mobile market share - 1992 - 2005
Table 24 - Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) by region - 2005
Table 25 - Mobile termination rates in Europe - 2006
Table 26 - Percentage of mobile numbers ported in Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, US - 2006
Table 27 - Prepaid market share in Brazil, India, China
Table 28 - Market share and number of prepaid subscribers worldwide - 2006 - 2010
Table 29 - Prepaid market share in various countries - 2004
Table 30 - Top 10 operators by prepaid growth - Q3 2006
Table 31 - Prepaid revenue estimates by region - 2005 - 2008
Table 32 - Number of MVNO subscribers - Virgin Mobile, Telmore - 2006
Table 33 - MVNO subscribers worldwide - 2005; 2006; 2012
Table 34 - MVNO revenue worldwide - 2006; 2012
Table 35 - Fixed versus mobile telephony - 1991 - 2006
Table 36 - World mobile subscribers by technology - June 2006
Table 37 - CDMA worldwide subscribers - 2000 - 2006
Table 38 - Growth of GSM market - 1994; 1997; 1999 - 2001; 2003 - 2006
Table 39 - World mobile subscribers by technology - June 2006
Table 40 - GSM subscribers by region - 2006
Table 41 - Hutchison’s largest 3G markets by subscribers
Table 42 - 3G worldwide subscribers by technology - mid-2006; beginning 2007
Table 43 - 3G subscriber forecasts for all technologies - 2007; 2010
Table 44 - Growth of worldwide 3G subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 45 - Regional share of WCDMA subscribers - 2006
Table 46 - 3G subscribers - top three countries - 2003 - 2005
Table 47 - 3G subscribers in Asia-Pacific countries (excl Japan) - 2004; 2009
Table 48 - WCDMA subscribers by country - 2003 - 2004
Table 49 - 3G penetration in the top fivecountries - 2005
Table 50 - 3G spectrum licence cost per capita - 2000 - 2001
Table 51 - Major global fixed satellite service operators - 2006
Table 52 - Number of regional/national satellite operators - 2006
Table 53 - Orbital satellite launches by year - 1996 - 2006
Table 54 - Orbital satellite launches by country - 2006
Table 55 - USA average local monthly bill & average local call length - 1995 - 2006
Table 56 - Canadian wireless revenues - 2005
Table 57 - Forecast subscriber and revenue growth in Canada - 2007 - 2010
Table 58 - Latin America mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 1998 - 2006
Table 59 - Latin America mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration by country - September 2006
Table 60 - Latin America subscriber distribution by country - 2005 - 2006
Table 61 - Subscribers, annual change and market share of Latin America operators - Sep 2006
Table 62 - Latin America technology, market share and annual change - 2005 - 2006
Table 63 - Europe voice market (billion minutes) - 2000; 2005; 2010
Table 64 - African mobile subscriber growth and penetration - 1998 - 2006
Table 65 - Mobile subscriber growth in Asia - 1990; 1995; 2000 - 2006
Table 66 - 3G WCDMA subscriber growth in Asia - 2004 - 2006
Table 67 - Australia mobile market subscribers, penetration and annual change - 2000 - 2008
Table 68 - Australia blended ARPU (AU$ per month) by operator - 2003 - 2006
Table 69 - Australia mobile services market revenue per major operator - 2000 - 2008

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