One Billion People Mobilized

Posted March 10, 2015

GSMA Report Predicts There Will Be One Billion New Mobile Subscribers over the Next Five Years

The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), an association of mobile operators and related companies, published a new report titled “The Mobile Economy: 2015.” A thorough and exhaustive study, the report provides a window into the future of the mobile economy.

A story in highlights key features of the report not the least of which is the forecast that the number of unique mobile subscribers will increase from 3.6 billion at the end of 2014 to 4.6 billion by 2020 when almost 60 percent of the population of the planet will be subscribers to mobile services. The following has been excerpted from the article and edited to fit our format. You may find the original article by clicking on this link.

Mobile adoption varies greatly

In Europe, nearly 80 percent of the population were mobile subscribers at the end of 2014, while in Sub-Saharan Africa the figure is only 39 percent. Global subscriber growth over the next five years will therefore be concentrated in the developing world, driven by the increasing affordability of mobile devices and services and rapidly expanding mobile coverage that serves to connect currently unconnected populations, especially those in rural areas.

Rapid migration to mobile broadband and smartphones

[Advancing to 2020 there] will [be] a rapid migration to mobile broadband technology as 3G/4G network availability and affordability increases. Mobile broadband accounted for 40 percent of SIM connections in 2014, but will increase to almost 70 percent of the total by 2020 as subscribers migrate away from 2G networks and devices. As well as expanding 3G/4G coverage reach, this trend is being driven by the rising number of smartphone connections. Smartphones accounted for 37 percent of SIM connections in 2014, a figure forecast to rise to 65 percent by 2020.

Adopting smartphones

The smartphone adoption rate is already at 60 percent in the developed world, ranging from 51 percent of SIM connections in Europe to 70 percent in North America. The developing world will lead smartphone growth over the next five years as the average selling price of smartphones continues to decline, adding a further 2.9 billion smartphone connections by 2020.

Mobile investment in next-gen

Mobile operators are making significant investments in next-generation mobile networks to meet capacity demands and expand coverage reach. In 2014, mobile operators invested around US$216 billion in capital expenditure (Capex), a nine percent year-on-year increase. Investment levels are forecast to reach a cumulative US$1.4 trillion in the six years from 2015 through to 2020.

Impacting the global economy

In 2014, the mobile industry contributed US$3 trillion to the world’s economy, equivalent to 3.8 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2020, it is estimated that the contribution from the industry will increase to US $3.9 trillion, representing 4.2 percent of projected global GDP by this point.

The mobile industry directly employed 12.8 million people globally in 2014 and indirectly supported a further 11.8 million jobs, bringing the total to 24.6 million. By 2020, this figure is forecast to reach 28.7 million, with 15.3 million men and women directly employed by the industry.



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