Feature Article

March 08, 2013

Developing Countries Will Have 80 Percent of Mobile Subscribers by 2017

Strategy Analytics is a global organization with analysts based in Europe, Asia and the U.S. Their local presence gives them the opportunity to understand regional markets, conduct primary research and manage consulting projects with a high degree of control, which results in impeccable data integrity. Furthermore, the company has been in the industry for over 40 years.

The most recent forecast from Worldwide Cellular User Forecasts 2012-2017 shows that the growing availability of LTE smartphones has delivered a significant boost to the technology over the last six months, and Strategy Analytics has upgraded its forecasts to one billion LTE connections by early 2017. The U.S., South Korea and Japan were leading the way in 2012, and they expect a greater global scale to be achieved in 2013. By 2017, LTE will generate over one-third of mobile service revenue.

Wireless Operator Strategies (WOS) provides a broad perspective of the operator market. Its most recent forecast shows that subscriptions, which saw a 2.8 percent growth in the past, will grow at a compound rate of 7.5 percent. This will be taking place in developing countries.

Strategy Analytics sees a global base of mobile subscriptions rising to 8.9 billion in the next five years, and four out of five of these subscriptions will be in developing countries. Director of WOS, Phil Kendall, explained that 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.

Strategy Analytics sees that a growing middle class in Africa shows dramatic changes in the market for communication devices and services. The African Development Bank estimates that in 2010, more than one-third of Africa's population –  or about 350 million people – could be counted as middle class. This is in comparison to the 220 million people estimated in 2000.

Tom Elliott, director of Emerging Markets Consulting, said, "Of course there is still a lot of demand for basic products and services, but the growing middle class is starting to demand more extensive data services on a widening range of smartphones, high end feature phones, and tablets."

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