Global mobile statistics 2014 Part A: Mobile subscribers; handset market share; mobile operators
1) Mobile subscribers worldwide
There are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, estimates The International Telecommunication Union (May 2014). This is equivalent to 95.5 percent of the world population.
• That’s a billion extra mobile subscriptions in three years, but growth is slowing – 2011: 5.9 billion; 2012: 6.2 billion; 2013: 6.7 billion; 2014: 6.9 billion.
• Mobile subscriptions in the developed world is rapidly reaching saturation point. There are 1.5 billion subscriptions in developed nations, which is similar to 2013. With 120.8 percent mobile penetration, there is already more than one mobile subscription per person in developed nations, leaving little room for growth.
• Market growth is being driven by demand from the developing world, led by rapid mobile adoption in China and India, the world’s most populous nations. There are 5.4 billion mobile subscriptions in the developing world – that’s 78 percent of global subscriptions – compared with 5.2 billion in 2013, according to the ITU. Mobile penetration in the developing world now is 90.2 percent, but there is still potential for growth, particularly in Africa which has the lowest mobile penetration worldwide at 69.3 percent.
• The number of mobile phone subscriptions is not the same as the number of mobile users. Ericsson (February 2014), estimates that there were 6.7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide at the beginning of 2014 (6 percent more than last year). But there are only around 4.5 billion mobile users – as many people have several subscriptions for different devices. Ericsson attributes 1.2 billion – 18 percent – subscriptions to China and 762 million – 11 percent – to India.
• Informa (Q2 2013) calculates that global subscriptions are 6.6 billion. See the 100 million club below for more details.
• Portio Research – in the excellent free Mobile Factbook 2013 predicts that mobile subscribers worldwide will reach 7.5 billion by the end of 2014 and 8.5 billion by the end of 2016.
• More than half of the world’s mobile subscribers are in Asia Pacific. With 3.6 billion subscriptions, according to the ITU, Asia Pacific accounts for 52.1 percent of the global number. This share is expected to rise – Portio estimates that Asia Pacific’s share of the mobile subscribers will be 54.3 percent in 2016. Portio also predicts that by 2016 Africa and Middle East will overtake Europe as the second largest region for mobile subscribers.
2) Top mobile markets: The 100 million club
There are 14 countries in the world with over 100 million mobile subscriptions, ranging from China with 1.2 billion to Mexico with 102.7 million. The newest additions to our 100 million club are Vietnam, Bangladesh, The Philippines and Mexico; several countries such as Iran and Egypt are knocking at the door.
• The top 14 countries account for more than 61 percent of the world’s total mobile subscriptions.
• 29 percent of the world’s mobile users live in India and China. Subscriber numbers in either country dwarf the number of subscribers in third place USA.