…Europe, China lead, as Sub-Saharan Africa comes last
GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of GSMA, the body that represents the interests of mobile operator’s worldwide, has declared that the number of mobile subscribers globally has hit five billion, real time data.
The body also said though it took four years to add the latest 1 billion subscribers, this milestone means that more than two-thirds of the global population are now connected to a mobile service.
Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA commented that, “Reaching the 5 billion subscribers milestone is a tremendous achievement for an industry that is only a few decades old, and reflects the many billions of dollars that mobile operators have invested in networks, services and spectrum over many years.”
Today mobile is a truly global platform, according to Granryd, delivering connectivity and perhaps more importantly, social and economic opportunities to citizens in all corners of the world.
The DG of the GSMA stressed that this massive reach allows the mobile industry to be a key player in delivering global initiatives, such as, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report breakdown of the figures, according to regions, shows more than half (55 per cent) of mobile subscribers are based in the Asia Pacific region, which is home to the world’s two largest mobile markets: China and India. China accounts for more than a billion of the world’s subscribers, while India accounts for 730 million.
The most highly penetrated regions in the world is Europe, where 86 per cent of citizens have subscribed to a mobile service. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least penetrated region at 44 per cent.
It is predicted that the number of unique mobile subscribers worldwide will increase to 5.7 billion by the end of the decade. By that point, almost three-quarters of the world’s population will subscribe to a mobile service.
India is expected to account for the largest share of growth over this period, responsible for around 30 per cent of new unique subscribers by 2020.
“Subscriber growth opportunities over the coming years will be focused on connecting mainly rural, low-income populations; operators are developing a range of sustainable solutions to deliver affordable connectivity to underserved communities,” Granryd added.
He also emphasized that in mature markets where subscriber growth is slowing, operators are evolving their business models to capture increasing value within the expanding mobile ecosystem, and providing the platform for a new digital world as we enter the 5G era.