Thursday, October 18, 2012

GSMA: Mobile Penetration and Unique Users

The GSMA estimates that by the end of 2012 total mobile connections will stand at 6.8 billion including machine-to machine (M2M) communications, or 5.9 billion excluding M2M and inactive SIM cards.

The calculation is based on primary research undertaken by the GSMA's Wireless Intelligence team over three years and across 39 developed and developing markets.

Penetration rates in many markets is exceeding the 100% threshold because consumers are accumulating many prepaid SIM cards to take advantage of lower tarrifs.

"This research, for the first time, highlights the difference between mobile connections and individual mobile subscribers, and points to a significant growth opportunity for the mobile industry as we continue to connect the world's population," said Anne Bouverot, Director General at the GSMA. "By identifying inactive SIMs and multiple SIM ownership, we have developed the most accurate measurement of the global mobile subscriber base, which shows that only 45 per cent of the world's population has subscribed to mobile services."

Some highlights of the study:

  • By 2017, subscriber penetration in developed countries is set to have passed 80% and growth in these markets is expected to slow.
  • Subscriber penetration across developing economies is forecast to increase from 39 per cent in 2012 to 47 per cent in 2017.
  • Europe has the highest mobile penetration in the world, with countries such as Denmark, Finland, Germany and the UK already averaging close to 90 per cent subscriber penetration.
  • Africa currently has the lowest penetration, with only one out of three people in the region subscribing to mobile services in 2012, a figure that is expected to increase to 40 per cent by 2017.
  • In Asia, subscriber penetration stands 40 per cent, and is expected to grow to 49 per cent by 2017.
  • In China, the world's largest mobile market, subscriber penetration will grow from 43 per cent to 52 per cent over the next five years.

The GSMA is also predicting that approximately a third of the world's population of 7 billion are unlikely to be able to subscribe to mobile services for a variety of reasons, resulting in an 'addressable' mobile subscriber base of around 5 billion.