Updated: Forecast: global mobile subscribers, 2010-2015

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Forecasts
  4. Key takeaways
  5. About Peter Crocker


The number of mobile subscribers is growing steadily across the globe. The overall trend is up, but each continent and country tells a different story about 3G and 4G penetration, market saturation and the rate of future growth.

This forecast examines the global mobile landscape over the next five years, forecasting the number of subscribers and the penetration of 3G and 4G services by both continent and country. In particular we look at new markets such as China and India, possibilities in developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, and saturation in the first world.

The global mobile subscriber base is expected to grow at an 8.8 percent CAGR from 2010–2015, reaching over 8 billion subscribers. Interestingly, Western and Southern Europe are growing the slowest, at a 1.8 percent CAGR, and Africa will grow the fastest, at a 14.5 percent CAGR. Subscribers to 3G and 4G will grow from 859 million in 2010 to 2.38 billion in 2015, equating to a 23 percent CAGR. Almost half of all mobile subscribers will reside in Asia in 2015.

The next five years promise to be a crucial time for the mobile industry, and below we use straightforward charts and graphs to present our forecasts.

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Secondary research techniques were the primary method for creating subscribers forecasts. The research team consulted mobile operator financial reports, telecom regulatory bodies, reports from global economic organizations and data generally available on the web. Sophisticated modeling techniques were used, including regression analysis, trend analysis and bottoms-up analysis.


Wireless subscription or wireless subscriber represents device connection

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