Wireless subscriptions to reach 6.6 billion by 2016
Worldwide mobile subscriptions reached 5 billion in 2010, with one in five of those having access to mobile broadband, according to a report by market intelligence firm ABI Research.
The report forecasts that wireless subscriptions to grow at 28% and reach 6.6 billion by 2016, with 40%, or twice the current percentage of users, being mobile broadband-enabled.
According to study, despite many markets reaching saturation with penetration levels in excess of 100%, mobile network operators still have a lot more to look forward to as it has become increasingly common to have multiple mobile connections per user.
ABI Research research associate Fei Feng Seet said the main motivation is the desire to stay connected everywhere, with more high speed 4G wireless networks lighting up, and a huge increase in the popularity of social connectivity.
The report revealed that the Chinese and Indian operators are now the top five mobile network operators measured by subscriptions, while the US Verizon Wireless moved to sixth place.
In Q3 2010, China Mobile alone accounted for 11% of all global mobile subscriptions.
ABI Research practice director Neil Strother said China’s and India’s penetration levels are nowhere near the 100% mark, leaving much more room for growth than any other countries.
The market observer said that in terms of subscriptions, worldwide mobile penetration now stands above 75%, of which the Asia-Pacific region accounts for close to half.