80% of mobile subscribers will be in developing world by 2017

Posted by Friedrick on March 11, 2013 in Great Articles, Mobile Apps

March 10, 2013 | By

A full 80 percent of mobile subscribers will be in developing countries by 2017, according to a prediction by Strategy Analytics.

Mobile subscriptions are projected to increase at a 7.5 percent compound annual growth rate in developing countries, much faster the 2.8 percent CAGR in the developed world.

“The Middle East and Africa will generate an impressive 28 percent revenue growth between 2012 and 2017, confirming its significance to investors from outside the region such as Airtel, Orange and Vodafone,” observed Phil Kendall, director of wireless operator strategies service at Strategy Analytics.

China and India will account for the bulk of emerging market subscriptions, but strong growth is also expected in the Middle East and Africa. By 2014, there will be more mobile connections than people in the world, Kendall predicted.

Strategy Analytics’ data jives with a report released by the International Telecommunication Union last fall. Mobile subscriptions experienced double-digit growth in developing markets between 2010 and 2011. The number of mobile subscriptions increased by more than 600 million, mostly in the developing world, to reach around 6 billion subscribers, or 86 per 100 inhabitants globally.

China and India lead the way in mobile subscribers, each with around one billion.

On the mobile broadband front, the number of subscribers grew by 40 percent between 2010 and 2011 to almost 1.1 billion, or a penetration rate of 16 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. There are currently almost twice as many mobile-broadband as fixed-broadband subscriptions. The ITU predicts that mobile broadband subscriptions will grow at double-digit rates over the next few years.

The high growth in smartphones and tablets in the larger emerging markets will also have an impact on the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions and will reinforce the shift from mobile voice to mobile data traffic. As a result, upgrades of networks, higher speeds and more spectrum will be required, all warranting sustained investment flows in the sector, the ITU observed.

These stats are certainly good news for BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY), which is seeing its Z10 smartphone and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 gaining traction in developing markets.

For more:
- see Strategy Analytics data
- check out the ITU report

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