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Global Mobile Communications - Statistics, Trends and Forecasts

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of the mobile sector. Information at a regional level is also provided for the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The report includes analyses, statistics, forecasts and trends. It provides a comprehensive insight into the progress of mobile and examines the key issues and opportunities.

Subjects covered include:

  • Worldwide and regional mobile subscriber statistics;
  • 3G market overview and statistics;
  • Worldwide mobile ARPU and revenue;
  • Overview of worldwide call charges;
  • Mobile prepaid sector;
  • MVNO market;
  • Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and Fixed-mobile substitution (FMS);
  • Termination rates, Roaming, Mobile Number Portability (MNP);
  • Mobile handset market overview and statistics;
  • Regional overview.


Executive Summary

The current economic environment is forcing mobile operators to focus on reducing overall company operating costs. A number of strategies in this cost-driven market are being implemented, such as producing more low-cost handsets, offering cheaper mobile plans in order to retain customers, enlisting in infrastructure sharing opportunities and utilising outsourcing services. Some operators are also looking for ways to reduce support service costs, either by charging for support services or offering self-help alternatives.

The mobile industry is also pinning its hopes on the emerging markets to sustain subscriber growth levels in the economic downturn. So far this is holding true, with both India and China recently reporting positive subscriber growth. BuddeComm forecasts that overall global mobile subscriber growth will drop to around 13% in 2009.

One area that is already feeling the impact of the financial crisis is the handset market. Mobile users are changing their spending habits and delaying plans to upgrade or buy new handsets. As a result, handset sales are expected to decline in 2009. On a brighter note, there was evidence in 2008 that smartphone sales were beginning to grow in the high end markets and the long term outlook for smartphones is very promising.

Mobile termination rates and roaming charges continue to be an important source of revenue for operators. However government and consumer pressure continues to mount on operators to lower their charges even further, despite some operators already reporting a drop in overall revenues as a direct result of the declining rates. In 2009 mobile roaming revenue accounts for around 5% of total mobile revenues worldwide.

Prepaid mobile has always been very popular as a low-cost option in the emerging markets. Now prepaid plans are being touted as a way for all consumers to save money in the economic downturn. The prepaid market is hoping consumers will turn to its services rather than abandon ownership of a mobile phone altogether. However, the market may also feel a negative impact as its traditional customer base is usually middle and lower income earners - often the hardest hit in such times. From a broader perspective, the prepaid model is still a huge success worldwide and in recent times the differences between prepaid and postpaid service offerings has begun to fade.

There are now hundreds of MVNOs around the world and the market is witnessing a shift away from traditional business models as operators and new market entrants alike trial models based on niche markets. Models are being developed around data services, music services, health services, luxury services and devices (such as Nokia’s Vertu Club). There are also MVNOs targeting certain consumer segments, for example tourists, foreign workers and youth markets. Another niche market has developed via the 3G networks, which provide MVNOs an opportunity to offer data multimedia services in addition to the existing low-cost voice and SMS. Given the current economic downturn, we also expect to continue to see MVNOs offering lower price services.

In early 2009 there were over 400 million 3G subscribers worldwide and despite the financial crisis, there are big plans ahead for one of the largest emerging 3G markets - China, which hopes to benefit from huge investments in 3G network deployment. India is also finalising 3G licensing arrangements and it is expected that spectrum auctions will be held in 2009. Russia is also an emerging market to watch - it has the largest mobile market in Europe. Future mobile growth in the country will continue to be driven by voice in the short to medium term until availability and penetration of recently launched UMTS/3G services is high enough to offer affordable and desirable mobile data and content services on a sufficient scale.

This report provides insight and analysis of the trends and developments taking place in the mobile communications sector. The report comprises global and regional statistics and information on mobile growth, including 3G uptake and the prepaid market. Other key topics include global mobile handset development and growth, the progress of FMC and FMS and the global MVNO market. Valuable statistics on ARPU, mobile revenue, call charges, and minutes of use are included as well as information on termination fees, roaming and mobile number portability. Information at a regional level is also provided for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The report contains BuddeComm’s analyses of the current and future mobile sector. Mobile broadband is covered in detail in a separate annual publication.

Key highlights:

  • In 2009 around of 70% of mobile subscribers worldwide are using prepaid.
  • Fixed-mobile convergence continues to evolve and we have recently seen new data-centric services come to the market. Fixed-mobile substitution also continues to take place around the world as mobile operators seek to ensure this phenomenon continues.
  • Subscribers are expected to rein in their mobile spending costs in the current economic environment by either changing to cheaper plans, making fewer or shorter mobile calls or delaying handset upgrades and new purchases.
  • In early 2009 there were around 4 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, with some of the more mature markets having over 100% penetration. GSM is still the most popular mobile technology.
  • Mobile users now make up more than 90% of all telephone subscribers across Africa, a higher percentage than on any other continent.
  • Despite the global downturn, Latin America’s mobile market will probably continue to grow in 2009 albeit at a slower rate. Once the economy recovers, mobile telephony may regain momentum for a couple of years and then gradually slacken as countries reach mobile market saturation.
  • Average mobile penetration across Europe reached about 125% by the beginning of 2009 while sustaining subscriber growth of about 8%. Mobile use is so ingrained among consumers that by early 2009 about a quarter of households across the EU27 had ceased using ordinary fixed-line connections in favour of mobile phones and voice over IP services.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:
  • This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.
  • The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.
  • All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.
Worldwide mobile phone penetration rate - 2009; 2011

Year
Penetration

2009 (e)
60%
2011 (e)
75%

Note: Excluding multiple subscriptions, actual worldwide mobile penetration sits at around 50% in 2009.

1. Global Mobile Market: Growth and Trends
1.1 Global and regional mobile subscriber statistics
1.1.1 Impact of financial crisis (2008/2009)
1.1.2 Historical subscriber growth
1.1.3 Other statistics and forecasts
1.2 3G market overview, trends and statistics
1.2.1 The time for 3G has arrived, but no cheering from the operators
1.2.2 Recent developments
1.2.3 3G statistics and forecasts
1.2.4 3G spectrum auctions
1.2.5 Analysis: hard realities of the mobile market
1.2.6 Analysis: 3G, still a way to go
1.3 Prepaid market overview, trends and statistics
1.3.1 Prepaid mobile services
1.3.2 Key prepaid trends and developments
1.3.3 Worldwide prepaid subscribers and revenue
1.3.4 Mandatory registration
2. Mobile Revenues, Rates and Charges
2.1 Mobile revenue, ARPU and call charge statistics
2.1.1 Mobile usage and call charges overview
2.1.2 Overview of global ARPU developments
2.1.3 Overview of historical global ARPU developments
2.1.4 Mobile revenue growth and CAPEX forecast
2.2 Termination rate, roaming & mobile number portability statistics
2.2.1 Introduction: mobile competition
2.2.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTR)
2.2.3 Roaming
2.2.4 Bill and Keep model
2.2.5 Number Portability (NP)
2.2.6 Conclusion
3. Mobile Handset Market: Trends and Statistics
3.1 Market overview, trends and statistics
3.1.1 Handset market growth
3.1.2 Mobile handset statistics and forecasts
3.1.3 Smartphones
3.1.4 Handset supplier market shares
3.1.5 Other trends and developments
3.1.6 Safety and security issues
4. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
4.1 MVNO market overview, trends and statistics
4.1.1 MVNO market overview
4.1.2 Key MVNO markets
4.1.3 MVNO analysis
4.1.4 Market definitions
5. Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) and FMS
5.1 FMC and FMS market overview, trends and statistics
5.1.1 Introduction
5.1.2 Fixed-mobile substitution (FMS)
5.1.3 Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC)
5.1.4 Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA)
5.1.5 IP convergence the future anyway - analysis
5.1.6 Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FMCA)
6. Regional Overviews
6.1 North America
6.2 Latin America
6.2.1 Overview
6.2.2 Mobile trends
6.2.3 Competitive landscape
6.2.4 Major mobile operators in Latin America
6.2.5 Mobile forecasts
6.2.6 Mobile technologies
6.2.7 Prepaid services
6.3 Europe
6.3.1 Growth and trends
6.3.2 Mobile revenue, ARPU, call charges
6.3.3 Mobile handset market
6.3.4 MVNOs
6.3.5 FMC and FMS
6.4 Africa
6.4.1 Overview
6.4.2 Pan-African mobile operators
6.4.3 MVNOs
6.4.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
6.4.5 Fixed-mobile convergence
6.4.6 Mobile handsets
6.4.7 Community phones
6.4.8 Prepaid cards
6.4.9 Call tariffs
6.4.10 Average Revenue per User (ARPU)
6.4.11 Mobile data services
6.4.12 3G
6.4.13 Market forecasts
6.5 Middle East
6.5.1 Overview
6.5.2 Market trends
6.5.3 MVNOs
6.5.4 Number portability
6.5.5 ARPU
6.5.6 3G
6.6 Asia
6.6.1 Overview
6.6.2 Hong Kong
6.6.3 Japan
6.6.4 Malaysia
6.6.5 South Korea
6.6.6 Singapore
6.6.7 Taiwan
6.6.8 Thailand
6.6.9 China
6.7 Pacific region
6.7.1 Australia
6.7.2 New Zealand
7. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of tables and exhibites
Table 1 - Worldwide mobile subscribers and annual change - 1993 - 2009
Table 2 - Mobile subscribers by region (historic) - 1993 - 2000
Table 3 - Mobile subscribers by region - 2001 - 2008
Table 4 - Worldwide market share of mobile subscribers by technology - 2008
Table 5 - Top 20 countries ranked by mobile penetration - 2004 - 2005; Q2 2007
Table 6 - Worldwide mobile phone penetration - 2008 - 2009; 2011
Table 7 - Growth of worldwide 3G subscribers - 2004; 2006 - 2009; 2012
Table 8 - Market share of 3G technologies - 2012
Table 9 - 3G spectrum licence cost per capita - 2000 - 2001
Table 10 - Market share of mobile subscribers using prepaid worldwide - 2006 - 2008
Table 11 - Prepaid market share in selected developing markets - Brazil; India; China
Table 12 - Number of prepaid subscribers worldwide - 2008; 2013
Table 13 - Prepaid service revenue worldwide - 2005 - 2007; 2013
Table 14 - Top 5 countries for monthly mobile minutes of use - 2008
Table 15 - Comparison of cheapest charges for services basket - Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Estonia, Norway, Denmark - April 2008
Table 16 - Comparison of cheapest charges for services basket - Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, France, Great Britain - March 2007
Table 17 - Rate per voice minute in selected developed countries - 2008
Table 18 - Comparison of most expensive charges for services basket - Switzerland, France, Ireland - April 2008
Table 19 - Monthly mobile broadband contract costs in Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, Americas - 2007
Table 20 - Leading developed countries by monthly mobile ARPU - 2008
Table 21 - Worldwide average mobile monthly ARPU - 2005 - 2006; 2013
Table 22 - Mobile data as a portion of mobile revenue in leading developed countries - 2008
Table 23 - Monthly mobile ARPU of top/bottom 5 carriers worldwide - Q3 2006
Table 24 - Worldwide mobile CAPEX - 2007 - 2009
Table 25 - Worldwide mobile revenue - 2008; 2012
Table 26 - Historical mobile termination rates (MTR) by region - 2005
Table 27 - Worldwide mobile roaming revenue - 2000; 2007; 2012
Table 28 - Average call charges abroad by region - 2007
Table 29 - European roaming charges - 2007 - 2009
Table 30 - Proposed European roaming charges - 2009 - 2012
Table 31 - Top ten European SMS roaming charges - 2007
Table 32 - Top ten European roaming charges per MB - Q3 2007
Table 33 - Percentage of mobile numbers ported - Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, US - 2006
Table 34 - Worldwide mobile handset sales - 2006 - 2008
Table 35 - Worldwide mobile handset sales and growth rate - 2004 - 2009
Table 36 - Mobile handset revenue worldwide - 2002 - 2005; 2008 - 2009; 2012
Table 37 - Handset supplier market share worldwide - top three suppliers - 2007 - 2008
Table 38 - Handset suppliers’ market shares - 1999 - 2008
Table 39 - Worldwide MVNO subscribers - 2005 - 2006; 2009; 2013
Table 40 - Worldwide MVNO services revenue - 2001 - 2006; 2009; 2012
Table 41 - Europe - number of network operators, resellers and MVNOs - 2000 - 2007
Table 42 - Year fixed-line access peaked in selected countries
Table 43 - USA wireless subscribers, penetration and annual change - 2008
Table 44 - Latin America mobile subscribers, annual change & penetration - 1998 - 2008
Table 45 - Latin America mobile subscribers, annual change, & penetration by country - September 2008
Table 46 - Forecast mobile subscriber penetration - higher growth scenario in select Latin American countries - 2008; 2013; 2018
Table 47 - Forecast mobile subscriber penetration - lower growth scenario in select Latin American countries - 2008; 2013; 2018
Table 48 - Latin America 3G subscribers - September 2008
Table 49 - Mobile penetration by country in Europe - January 2009
Table 50 - Total European mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1997 - 2009
Table 51 - Forecast European 3G subscribers - 2005 - 2013
Table 52 - Prepaid proportion of all subscribers in European countries - September 2008
Table 53 - Average voice and total mobile ARPU - Western Europe - 2006; 2012
Table 54 - Mobile network operator ARPU by country in Europe - Q2 2008
Table 55 - Data as proportion of total mobile revenue by country in Europe - Q2 2008
Table 56 - GSM price basket - selected European countries - 2006 - 2008
Table 57 - EU average mobile termination charges - 2004 - 2008
Table 58 - European roaming charges - 2007 - 2012
Table 59 - Ported mobile numbers as % of total by select European country - 2006 - 2007
Table 60 - Mobile numbers ported, select European countries - 2005 - 2007
Table 61 - Camera phone sales and forecasts, Eastern & Western Europe - 2005 - 2006; 2010
Table 62 - Market shares of handset makers in Europe - 2004 - 2008
Table 63 - Number of network operators, resellers and MVNOs in Europe - 2000 - 2008
Table 64 - African mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 1998 - 2008
Table 65 - Top 10 African countries by subscribers - June 2008
Table 66 - Top 10 African countries by annual growth in subscribers - June 2008
Table 67 - Mobile monthly ARPU in selected African markets - 2008
Table 68 - WCDMA subscribers in Africa by country - June 2008
Table 69 - Middle East mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration by country - June 2008
Table 70 - Market share of 3G subscribers, in select Middle Eastern countries - 2006 - 2008
Table 71 - Mobile subscribers in Asia - 1990 - 2008
Table 72 - Mobile subscribers and annual change in Hong Kong - 1992 - 2008
Table 73 - MVNO subscribers in Hong Kong - 2005 - 2008
Table 74 - Total mobile numbers ported in Hong Kong - 1999 - 2008
Table 75 - Prepaid and activated SIM cards in Hong Kong - 1997 - 2008
Table 76 - 3G mobile subscribers in Hong Kong - 2005 - 2008
Table 77 - Mobile subscribers and annual change in Japan - 1995 - 2008
Table 78 - 3G mobile subscribers by operator in Japan - 2008
Table 79 - Mobile subscribers, ARPU and churn by operator in Japan - 2004 - 2008
Table 80 - Prepaid mobile subscribers by operator in Japan - December 2008
Table 81 - Mobile wireless Internet subscribers in Japan - 2000 - 2008
Table 82 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Malaysia - 1994 - 2008
Table 83 - Mobile services revenues in Malaysia - 1993 - 2008
Table 84 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share in Malaysia - 2006 - 2008
Table 85 - Mobile subscribers in South Korea - 1994 - 2008
Table 86 -WCDMA subscribers by operator in South Korea - June 2008
Table 87 - Mobile market statistics in Singapore - 2008
Table 88 - Mobile subscribers in Singapore - 1996 - 2009
Table 89 - Mobile services revenue in Singapore - 1993 - 2008
Table 90 - 3G mobile subscribers in Singapore - 2005 - 2009
Table 91 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Taiwan - 1995 - 2008
Table 92 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share in Taiwan - 2003 - 2008
Table 93 - 2G and 3G mobile services ARPU in Taiwan - 2005 - 2007
Table 94 - Prepaid 2G subscribers - market share in Taiwan - 2001 - 2007
Table 95 - Mobile Internet subscribers in Taiwan - 2001 - 2007
Table 96 - Mobile subscribers in Thailand - 1998 - 2008
Table 97 - Mobile services revenue and ARPU in Thailand - 1998 - 2007
Table 98 - ARPU for major mobile operators in Thailand - 2007 - 2008
Table 99 - Mobile subscribers and annual change in China - 1995 - 2008
Table 100 - Prepaid mobile subscribers by operator in China - September 2008
Table 101 - China Mobile subscribers and ARPU - 1997 - 2007
Table 102 - China Unicom GSM and CDMA subscribers and ARPU - 2002 - 2008
Table 103 - Australian mobile subscribers, penetration rate & annual change - 1986 - 2011
Table 104 - Australian 3G subscribers by operator - 2003 - 2009
Table 105 - Percentage prepaid subscribers by operator in Australia - 2006 - 2009
Table 106 - Blended ARPU by operator in Australia - 2003 - 2008
Table 107 - 2G and 3G ARPU per month comparison in Australia - 2006 - 2010
Table 108 - NZ mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate - 1995 - 2010
Table 109 - 3G subscribers by operator in New Zealand - 2006 - 2009
Table 110 - Percentage of prepaid customers per operator in New Zealand - 2005 - 2008
Table 111 - Average monthly prepaid & postpaid ARPU by operator in New Zealand - 2004 - 2008


Exhibit 1 - Hutchison Whampoa
Exhibit 2 - 3G deployment statistics - 2008
Exhibit 3 - Growth drivers for prepaid mobiles in emerging markets
Exhibit 4 - Examples of operators reporting high prepaid growth - 2007 - 2009
Exhibit 5 - Roaming Regulation amendments - July 2009 - 2013
Exhibit 6 - Number portability: key considerations
Exhibit 7 - Examples of countries with mobile numbering plans
Exhibit 8 - Examples of key MVNO customer segments
Exhibit 9 - Europe - selected MVNOs and resellers - 2008
Exhibit 10 - USA - major developments in the MVNO market - 2007 - 2008
Exhibit 11 - Variables that affect MVNO development
Exhibit 12 - Comparative characteristics of an MVNO
Exhibit 13 - FMC services
Exhibit 14 - Growth inhibitors for FMC
Exhibit 15 - Examples of FMC implementations
Exhibit 16 - Industry factors and drivers for suppliers to introduce FMC & FMS services
Exhibit 17 - Implications for industry from FMC & FMS services
Exhibit 18 - UMA examples from the telecoms industry
Exhibit 19 - EC regulation amendments - July 2009 - 2013
Exhibit 20 - Mobile carriers and their key resellers in Australia

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