“With subscriber numbers having passed the 1.5 billion mark in the first week of June 2004, EMC forecasts that global net additions of more than 240 million in both 2004 and 2005 will set the mobile industry up to break through the 2 billion subscriber mark as soon as July 2006,” comments Kester Mann, Senior Research Analyst at EMC, sourcing EMC’s latest Insight: Understanding Subscriber Growth in Key Global Markets.
Driven by strong growth in emerging markets, EMC forecasts that the 2 billion milestone will be surpassed ahead of recent industry predictions. EMC expects 2.45 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2009.
Despite long since reaching saturation point in Western Europe, the mobile industry is still poised for sustained growth thanks to the enormous potential of emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. By 2009 there are forecast to be almost 550 million subscribers in China alone, more than twice as many as in the second largest market, the USA. India, currently the worlds 13th largest market, is forecast to quadruple in size to take third place with 117 million subscribers. Boosted by the TDMA to GSM migration, Brazil is on track to hit 100 million subscribers in late 2008, up from just over 50 million currently.
“With a global penetration rate of just 23%, there are still almost five billion potential new mobile users worldwide and this represents a tremendous opportunity for the industry,” commented Mann. Continued subscriber growth can be achieved by further widening the addressable market for mobile services to include segments of the population that have previously been unable to afford a mobile phone service or have lived outside areas of mobile phone coverage, or both.
Largest five markets: Dec 2003 (source: EMC)
Largest five markets: forecast Dec 2009 (source: EMC)