At the end of 2010 there were more than five billion mobile subscriptions globally, with one in five of those having access to mobile broadband. Another 28 percent growth or 6.6 billion wireless subscriptions is expected by 2016, with 40 percent, or twice the current percentage of users, being mobile broadband-enabled, said the research firm.
Despite many markets reaching saturation with penetration levels in excess of 100 percent, mobile network operators still have a lot more to look forward to.
According to the research firm, Chinese and Indian operators are now the top five mobile network operators measured by subscriptions, putting Verizon Wireless in the US into sixth place. As of the third quarter of 2010, China Mobile alone accounted for 11 percent of all global mobile subscriptions.
In terms of subscriptions, worldwide mobile penetration now stands above 75 percent, of which the Asia-Pacific region accounts for close to half, adds the research firm.
Fei Feng Seet, research associate at ABI Research, said: â€œWith the proliferation of mobile broadband, it has become increasingly common to have multiple mobile connections per user. 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.â€
Neil Strother, practice director at ABI Research, said: â€œChinaâ€™s and Indiaâ€™s penetration levels are nowhere near the 100 percent mark, leaving much more room for growth than any other countries. However, the strictly regulated telecom markets in these two countries impose high barriers for foreign players, which may slow the roll out of new technology.â€
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