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Home / Global mobile statistics 2013 Part A: Mobile subscribers; handset market share; mobile operators
Global mobile statistics 2013 Part A: Mobile subscribers; handset
market share; mobile operators
December 2013: Put your mobile strategy on a sound footing with The essential mobile stats compendium.
Global mobile subscribers; top mobile countries (NEW); handset sales, market share; smartphone sales,
market share, forecasts (NEW); tablets; mobile phone security; top mobile network operators.
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND THE MOBILE STATS COMPENDIUM:
Home: Full index of contents and highlights • Section A: Mobile subscribers; handset share • Section
B: Mobile Web; 3G • Section C: Mobile marketing, advertising and messaging • Section D: Consumer
mobile behavior • Section E: Mobile apps, app stores • Section F: Mobile payment, NFC, m-commerce,
m-ticketing and m-coupons • Section G: Mobile financial services (MFS) and m-banking • Section H:
VC investment in mobile.
SECTION A: Mobile subscribers; handset market share; mobile operators
1) Mobile subscribers worldwide • Mobile subscriptions v unique mobile users (NEW)
2) The top 14 mobile markets (NEW): mobile and 3G subs for China • India • USA etc.
3) Mobile device shipments • Global smartphone penetration
4) Smartphone shipments • Top five smartphone countries • Smartphone sales forecasts by region
(NEW) • Smartphone shipments/forecasts by OS share (NEW) • Smartphone average selling price
forecasts (NEW). 5) Smartphone market penetration.
6) Mobile tablets and e-Readers
7) Mobile phone security • Rise of mobile malware
8) Top mobile network operators • timescale for operators to run out of profit
• If you use any of the stats, please remember to source and link to both the analysts and to mobiThinking.
Please do not republish more than 5 percent of the content without seeking permission.
• Thanks to all the analysts, associations and regulators that continue to send us their research. Please keep us
• Be the first to know when we add new stats: @mobithinking
1) Mobile subscribers worldwide
There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, estimates The International Telecommunication
Union (February 2013). That is equivalent to 96 percent of the world population (7.1 billion according to the
ITU). And is a huge increase from 6.0 billion mobile subscribers in 2011 and 5.4 billion in 2010.
• Mobile subscribers in the developed world is rapidly reaching saturation point with at least one mobile
subscription per person. Mobile penetration in developed nations is around 128 percent of the population.
This means market growth is being driven by demand developing world, led by rapid mobile adoption in
China and India, the world's most populous nations. Mobile penetration in developing nations is around 89
percent of the population, according to the ITU.
• At the end of 2012 there were 5.2 billion mobile subscriptions in the developing world (76.6 percent of
global subscriptions). Mobile penetration in the developing world now is 89 percent, with Africa being the
lowest region worldwide at 63 percent.
• Informa (Q2 2013) calculates global subscriptions are 6.6 billion (slightly lower than the ITU). See the 100
million club below for more details.
• Portio Research – in the excellent free Mobile Factbook 2013 predicts that mobile subscribers worldwide
will reach 7.0 billion by the end of 2013, 7.5 billion by the end of 2014 and 8.5 billion by the end of 2016.
• Over half of the world’s mobile subscribers are in Asia Pacific. Portio estimates that Asia Pacific’s share of
the mobile subscribers will rise from 51.3 percent in 2012, to 52.3 percent in 2013 and 54.3 percent in 2016.
By 2016 Africa and Middle East will overtake Europe as the second largest region for mobile subscribers.
Key Global Telecom Indicators for the World Telecommunication Service Sector in 2012
(all figures are estimates)
Global Developed Developing Africa Arab Asia & CIS Europe The
nations nations States Pacific Americas
subscriptions 6,835m 1,600m 5,235m 545m 396m 3,547m 476m 790m 1,048m
Per 100 people 96.2% 128.2% 89.4% 63.5% % 89.7% % 126.5% 109.4% Fixed
telephone lines 1,171m 520m 652m 12m 35m 515m 72m 243m 272m
Per 100 people 16.5 41.6% 11.1% 1.4% 9.3% 12.9% 25.7% 39.0% 28.4%
broadband 2,096m 934m 1,162m 93m 71m 895m 129m 422m 460m
Per 100 people 29.5% 74.8% 19.8% 10.9% 18.9% 22.4% 46.0% 67.5% 48.0%
growth 40% N/A N/A 82% 55% 22% 27% 33% 28%
subscriptions 696m 340m 357m 3m 12m 303m 38m 168m 164m
per 100 people 9.8% 27.2% 6.2% 0.3% 3.3% 7.6% 13.5% 27.0% 17.1%
Source: © International Telecommunication Union (February 2013) via: © mobiThinking
• mobiThinking note: Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed lines 6:1 (more so in developing nations);
Mobile broadband outnumbers fixed broadband 3:1. With stats like this, it is easy to see why the experts
predict that mobile Web usage will overtake PC-based Web usage. This will happen more quickly in
developing nations – in China and other countries it already has – where fixed Web penetration remains low.
In developed nations, this will happen more slowly. IDC believes that mobile Web usage will not overtake
PC Web usage in the US until 2015. Regardless of the timescale, this inevitability makes your mobile Web
strategy more important than your PC Web strategy in the long term.
• See Section B: for all the stats on Mobile Web; 3G etc
1b) Mobile subscriptions v unique mobile users
Please note that mobile subscriptions refers to the number of SIM cards being used in each country, not the
number of people using a mobile device. Some people have two mobile accounts on the go at a one time,
possibly in two devices, possibly in a single dual-SIM device (which are becoming increasingly common in
the developing world and are forecast by Strategy Analytics to reach 20 percent of handsets by 2016).
• Ericsson (June 2013) believes global mobile penetration reached 90 percent in Q1 2013 and mobile
subscriptions now total around 6.4 billion. However, the actual number of subscribers is around 4.5 billion, since many people have several subscriptions e.g. work handset, home handset, PC dongle and/or tablet. Also
operators are slow to remove inactive accounts from their databases. (This is why you commonly see
countries with mobile penetration above 100 percent). It should also be noted that in some developing
regions, it is common for several people to share one subscription.
• Ericsson forecasts that mobile subscriptions will reach 9.1 billion in 2018. Of these, 7 billion will be mobile
broadband subscriptions. Of these 2 billion will be LTE (known as 4G) and 4,300 with be WCDMA/HSPA
• Wireless Intelligence (October 2012) estimates that there were 6.6 billion total connections in 2012
globally, excluding M2M. Of these it believes 10 percent are inactive, bringing the total down to 5.9 billion.
Estimating that consumers use on average 1.85 SIM cards each, Wireless Intelligence concludes that unique
mobile users worldwide currently stands at 3.2 billion. That means unique subscriber penetration is just 45
percent in 2012.
• Wireless Intelligence forecasts that unique mobile users will grow to 4 billion in five years.
2) Top mobile markets: The 100 million club
There are 14 countries in the world with over 100 million mobile subscriptions, ranging from China with
1.2 billion to Mexico with 102.7 million. The newest additions to our 100 million club are Vietnam,
Bangladesh, The Philippines and Mexico; several countries such as Iran and Egypt are knocking at the door.
• The top 14 countries account for more than 61 percent of the world’s total mobile subscriptions.
• 29 percent of the world’s mobile users live in India and China. Subscriber numbers in either country dwarf
the number of subscribers in third place USA.
The 100 million club: the top 14 mobile markets by number of subscriptions
Mobile in millions 3G/4G Sources:
% of % of Last
Country subscriptions source: population subscriptions population subs; update
in millions World in millions 3G subs
World 6,587.4m 7,046m 93.5% 1,876.6m 26.6% Informa 06/13
1 China 1,218.5m 1,351m 90.2% 391m 28.9% China 10/13
2 India 738.9m; 1,237m 59.7% 88.5m 7.2% TRAI 09/13
total: 870.6m Informa 06/13
3 States 345.2m 313.9m 110.0% 287.4m 91.6% Informa 06/13 4 Indonesia 285.0m 246.9m 115.4% 45.5m 18.4% Informa 06/13
5 Brazil 268.4m 198.7m 135.1% 77.9m 39.2% 08/13
6 Russia 237.1m 143.5m 165.2% 41.2m 28.7% Informa 06/13
7 Japan 135.3m 127.6m 106.0% 107.7m 84.4% TCA 10/13
8 Vietnam 127.7m 88.8m 143.8% 18.0m 20.3% Informa 06/13
9 Pakistan 126.1m 179.2m 70.4% N/A N/A Informa 06/13
10 Nigeria 120.9m; 168.8m 76.4% 12.7m 7.5% Informa 06/13
11 Germany 113.6m 81.9m 138.7% 46.0m 56.2% BNA 06/13
12 Bangladesh 110.7m 154.7m 71.6% 0.4m 0.2% BTRC 09/13
13 Philippines 109.5m 96.7m 113.2% 16.6m 17.1% Informa 06/13
14 Mexico 102.7m 120.8m 117.6% 19.8m 16.4% Informa 06/13
Source: Paul Lambert, Informa (Q2 2013); national telecoms regulators via: mobiThinking
• See the 100 million club for more analysis.
• See mobiThinking’s guides to mobile in: Nigeria • Brazil • Japan • Germany • USA • India •
2b) Top mobile markets: China mobile subscribers by operator
Mobile subscribers in China by operator August 2013
Operator Subscribers 3G users
China Mobile 759.2 million 176.0 million China Unicom 275.9 million 115.4 million
China Telecom 183.4 million 99.6 million
Total 1,218.5 million 391 million
Sources: China Mobile; China Unicom; China
Telecom via: mobiThinking
• China: 1 billion mobile subscribers, 400 million mobile Web users and No1 smartphone market
• Mobile Web overtakes PC Web in China
• The dos and don’ts of building and marketing your mobile site in China
Want to attract more visitors to your mobile site? Then you need to read:
• • Mobile SEO best practices for 2014
Mobile device shipments
Today feature phones (non smartphones) outsell smartphones; and PCs and portable PCs
(notebooks/laptops) both outsell tablets. In the future that is expected to change.
• What is and what isn’t a mobile, smart or connected device and which categories may or may not compete
is a matter of conjecture.
• With the amount of publicity that smartphones receive companies might be forgiven for thinking that
everyone has one. They majority of people don’t, and won’t for some time yet. Today feature phones still
outsell smartphones, according to Gartner (February 2013) and Canalys (January 2013). Both analysts predict
that marginally more smartphones will be sold in 2013 than feature phones. Canalys believes that by 2016
smartphones will outsell feature phones by a considerable margin.
• The tablet is oft touted as a replacement for the desktop or portable PC, but today both continue to outsell
tablets. But Canalys (January 2013) predicts that tablets could outsell the portable PC in 2014.
Smart connected device market by product
Worldwide mobile device shipments in 2012 and 2016 category (shipments in millions), according
(millions of units), according to Canalys
2012 2016 2012-16 2012 2012 market
Type of device Type of device
shipments shipments Growth shipments share
Basic phone 122.0 58.0 -17.0% Smartphone 722.4m 60.1% Feature phone 770.8 660.9 -3.8% Tablet 128.3m 10.7%
Smartphone 694.8 1,342.5 17.9% Portable PC 202m 16.8%
Tablet 114.6 383.5 35.3% Desktop PC 148.4 12.4%
Notebook 215.7 169.1 -5.9%
Netbook 18.3 0.3 -65.4%
Total 1,936.2 2,614.2 7.8% Total 1201.1m 100.0%
Source: © Canalys (Feb 2013) Source: © IDC (Feb 2013)
Via: © mobiThinking
3) Mobile phone shipments
3a) There were 1.7 billion mobile phones sold in 2012, which was similar to the number sold in 2011.
• IDC (January 2013): 1.736 billion handsets were sold in 2012, up 1.2 percent compared with 2011.
• Gartner (February 2013): 1.746 billion handsets were sold in 2012, down 1.7 percent from 2011.
• Strategy Analytics (January 2013): 1.575 billion handsets were sold in 2012, up 1.9 percent compared with
• These figures include feature phones (around 59 percent of handsets sold in 2012) and smartphones (31-32
percent of handsets sold in 2011). Smartphone sales are broken out below.
• Gartner (February 2013): predicts mobile device sales will grow to reach 1.9 billion units in 2013.
Smartphone sales are expected to hit 1 billion units in 2013, which means that for the first time smartphones
will outsell feature phones.
• The star performer is Samsung, which accounted for more than 20-24 percent of all handsets sold in 2012
and more than 30 percent of smartphones. See: Why Samsung is number one handset/smartphone vendor:
why your mobile strategy should emulate Samsung
Top five mobile phone vendors, shipments,
Top ten mobile phone manufacturers in 2012
(millions of units)according to Gartner and market share in 2012 (millions of units),
according to IDC
2012 2012 2011 2011 2012 2012 2011 2011
Vendor sales market sales market Vendor sales market sales market
share share share share
Samsung 384.6 22.0% 315.1 17.7% Samsung 406.0 23.7% 330.9 19.3% Nokia 333.9 19.1% 422.5 23.8% Nokia 335.6 19.6% 416.9 24.3%
Apple 130.1 7.5% 89.3 5.0 Apple 135.9 7.8% 93.1 5.4%
ZTE 67.3 3.9% 56.9 3.2% ZTE 65.0 3.7% 69.5 4.1%
LG 58 3.3% 86.4 4.9% LG 55.9 3.2% 88.1 5.1%
Huawei 47.3 2.7% 40.7 2.3%
TCL 37.2 2.1% 34 1.9%
(RIM) 34.2 2% 51.5 2.9%
Motorola 33.9 1.9% 40.3 2.3%
HTC 32.1 1.8% 43.3 2.4%
Others 587.4 33.6% 595.9 33.6% Others 737.5 42.6% 716.8 41.8%
Total 1,746.2 100.0% 1,775.7 100% Total 1735.9 100.0% 1715.3 100.0%
Source: © Gartner (Feb 2013) Source: © IDC (Jan 2013)
Via: © mobiThinking
• mobiThinking note: Mobile phone sales stats are often confused with handset market penetration. The
breakdown of handsets sold in a given period is not a very accurate indication of what handsets people are
actually using, as most people retain the same handset for 18 months, 24 months (depending on their
contract) or longer. That’s why you won’t find quarterly sales stats in the Mobile stats compendium – they
can be very misleading. Yearly sales give a better indication of market penetration, but looking at sales over
a two or even three year period will provide a more accurate picture.
3b) Mobile device market penetration
In the absence of publicly available research based on sales of handsets (analysts keep this data for their
paying customers) the best indication of mobile device market penetration is research based on surveys of
consumers. There are no global figures – surveys are only conducted in a few of the most developed mobile
markets. While survey data is useful, it should be noted that these figures are based on the responses of a few
thousand people in markets of 30-330 million mobile subscribers, and thus should only be considered as
estimates of market penetration.
• ComScore (Q4 2011): The top device manufacturer by market penetration in Western Europe is Nokia, in the US is Samsung and in Japan is Sharp.
• ComScore (Q4 2011) estimates that in UK and Spain smartphones now outnumber feature phones (which is
remarkable considering that smartphones were 31-32 percent of handsets sold in 2011).
• Smartphone market penetration are broken out by manufacturer and operating system below.
• The estimates below are based surveys conducted ComScore in Q4 2011.
Top mobile manufacturers, by market penetration, Q4 2011, according to ComScore
USA Canada Japan Germany UK France Spain Italy
1 Samsung Samsung Sharp Nokia Nokia Samsung Nokia Nokia
25.3% 24.3% 24.4% 29.1% 24.4% 37.9% 40.7% 43.8%
2 LG 20.0% LG 18.8% Panasonic Samsung Samsung Nokia Samsung Samsung
13.6% 24.3% 19.9% 18.5% 20.4% 24.2%
3 Motorola RIM 14.8% Fujitsu Sony Eric Apple Apple Sony Eric LG 7.2%
13.3% 11.5% 13.5% 13.6% 10.1% 8.4%
Proportion of subscribers with a smartphone, Q4 2011, according to ComScore
41.8% N/A 17% 37.0% 51.3% 40.0% 51.0% 43.9%
Source: ComScore (February 2012) Survey group: 24,000 via: mobiThinking
"Mobile handsets are in an excellent position to become the primary digital channel for providers of banking
and related financial services in emerging markets” – Berg Insight.
• See Section F: for all the stats and research on mobile payment, NFC, m-commerce, m-ticketing and
m-coupons; and Section G: for all the stats and research on mobile financial services (MFS) and m-
4a) Smartphone shipments by manufacturer
Smartphone sales showed strong growth worldwide in 2012
• IDC (January 2013): Total shipments in 2012 were 712.6 million units up 44.1 percent from 2011. This
makes smartphones 41.1 percent of all handsets shipped. • Strategy Analytics (February 2013): Total shipments in 2012 were 700.1 million units up 42.7 percent from
2011. This makes smartphones 44.5 percent of all handsets shipped.
• Gartner (February 2013): predicts that there will be close to 1 billion smartphones sold in 2013, which will
mean that smartphones will outsell feature phones for the first time.
• Canalys (January 2013): predicts that 837 million smartphones will be sold worldwide in 2013. It also
expects smartphone sales to surpass feature phones sales. 29 percent of smartphones sold will be sold in
China. • For more on the world’s largest smartphone market, see Section 4b, below.
Top five smartphone vendors, shipments, and Top three smartphone manufacturers in 2012
market share in 2012 (millions of units), according(millions of units), according to Strategy
to IDC Analytics
2012 2012 2011 2011 2012 2012 2011 2011
Vendor sales market sales market Vendor sales market sales market
share share share share
Samsung 215.8 30.3% 94.2 19.0% Samsung 213.0 30.4% 97.4 19.9%
Apple 135.9 19.1% 93.1 18.8% Apple 135.8 19.4% 93.0 19.0%
Nokia 35.1 4.9% 77.3 15.6% Nokia 35.0 5.0% 77.3 15.8%
HTC 32.6 4.6% 43.6 8.8%
BlackBerry 32.5 4.6% 51.1 10.3%
Others 260.7 36.5% 135.3 27.5% Others 316.3 45.2% 222.8 45.4%
Total 712.6 100.0% 494.6 100.0% Total 700.1 100.0% 490.5 100.0%
Source: © IDC (Jan 2013) Source: © Strategy Analytics (Jan 2013)
Via: © mobiThinking
• mobiThinking reality check on smartphones:
The media tends to overegg the importance of smartphones and Apple in particular. Before media hype lulls
you into focusing your marketing/development budget on smartphones or the Apple platform exclusively,
• 55-59 percent of handsets sold globally in 2012 were not smartphones, they were feature phones; 92 percent
of all phones sold were not Apple.