Competitive global mobile market sees the rise of regional leaders

The global mobile market has become far more competitive in most markets around the world due to liberalisation, the rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) providers and, in some cases, the introduction of MVNOs. In addition, as operators go hunting for new revenue streams, there has been much regional and international expansion occurring – along with consolidation.

Amongst this competitive and challenging environment, a number of countries and operators have emerged as stand-outs in the various regions. In this report, BuddeComm has selected a large mobile market from each region and provided information on the major mobile operators and MVNOs for each country. Countries selected for inclusion in this edition of the report include: Nigeria; China; Australia; USA; Russia; Germany; United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

Across Asia, a total of around 3.8 billion mobile subscribers are being served by a large number of mobile operators. The operators are continuing to drive the market, expanding it by between 5% and 10%. Whilst the overall growth rate in the region has moderated the sheer numbers are impressive. China, India and Indonesia are the leading countries in terms of mobile subscriber base and subsequently China Mobile, China Unicom and Bharti are the leading mobile operators based on subscribers.

In all but a few tightly controlled telecom markets in Africa there is effective competition between market operators. This is particularly evident in larger markets including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, which all also benefit from a vibrant MVNO presence. Many countries are also served by a small number of regional operators which have footprints across multiple countries. These include Orange, Bharti Airtel, Millicom (Tigo) and MTN. These operators can capitalise on scale, and deliver experience gained in one market to benefit deployment of services in another.

Latin America’s mobile market is dominated by four multinational operators, which together account for about 75% of the region’s subscribers. This proportion has been stable for a number of years but is being slowly eroded as regulatory measures facilitate the entry of MVNOs. In part this has been made possible by regulators setting aside auctioned spectrum for new market entrants, and by auction rules which oblige licensees of some spectrum bands to host MVNOs.

The USA has one of the largest mobile markets in the world. While still feeling the effects of the largest economic recession since the Great Depression, the US mobile market continues to grow strongly as the majority of the US population uses mobile phones and the popularity of mobile data services continues to grow unabated.

While mobile communications and broadband are driving Europe’s overall telecom sector, there remains a need for further investment in networks and spectrum to address consumer need for bandwidth. The German mobile market is the largest in Europe, with about 118 million subscribers generating the largest revenue in the telecom sector. In common with most markets the main area of growth is in mobile data, with the number of mobile broadband subscribers having increased rapidly in recent years on the back of extensively available 3G and LTE networks.

Russia’s mobile market is also one of the largest in Europe in terms of the number of subscribers. The market was long dominated by three major national mobile network operators (MNOs) while a number of other operators offering services at a regional level have undergone consolidation.

There are a number of countries across the Middle East offering progressive and increasingly competitive mobile markets. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, for example, offer highly competitive mobile markets while Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have high mobile penetration leading to an increased focused on mobile broadband offerings by the operators.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Global Mobile Operators – Regional Leaders – Overview and Statistics

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