Global mobile statistics 2014 Part A: Mobile subscribers; handset market share; mobile operators

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 (NEW) • Mobile subscriptions v unique mobile users
2) The top 14 mobile markets (UPDATED): mobile and 3G subs for ChinaIndiaUSA etc.
3) Mobile device shipments (NEW) • Mobile phone shipments (NEW) •
4) Smartphone shipments (NEW) • Top five smartphone countriesSmartphone sales forecasts by regionSmartphone shipments/forecasts by OS share (NEW) • Smartphone average selling price forecasts.
5) Smartphone market penetration.
6) Mobile tablets sales and OS share (NEW) • Tablets: consumer or business? (NEW)
7) Mobile phone securityRise of mobile malware
8) Top mobile network operators (Updated) • 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 mobiForge. 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 updated: editor(at)
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1) Mobile subscribers worldwide

There are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, estimates The International Telecommunication Union (May 2014). This is equivalent to 95.5 percent of the world population.
• That’s a billion extra mobile subscriptions in three years, but growth is slowing – 2011: 5.9 billion; 2012: 6.2 billion; 2013: 6.7 billion; 2014: 6.9 billion.
Mobile subscriptions in the developed world is rapidly reaching saturation point. There are 1.5 billion subscriptions in developed nations, which is similar to 2013. With 120.8 percent mobile penetration, there is already more than one mobile subscription per person in developed nations, leaving little room for growth.
• Market growth is being driven by demand from the developing world, led by rapid mobile adoption in China and India, the world’s most populous nations. There are 5.4 billion mobile subscriptions in the developing world – that’s 78 percent of global subscriptions – compared with 5.2 billion in 2013, according to the ITU. Mobile penetration in the developing world now is 90.2 percent, but there is still potential for growth, particularly in Africa which has the lowest mobile penetration worldwide at 69.3 percent.
• The number of mobile phone subscriptions is not the same as the number of mobile users. Ericsson (February 2014), estimates that there were 6.7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide at the beginning of 2014 (6 percent more than last year). But there are only around 4.5 billion mobile users – as many people have several subscriptions for different devices. Ericsson attributes 1.2 billion – 18 percent – subscriptions to China and 762 million – 11 percent – to India.
Informa (Q2 2013) calculates that global subscriptions are 6.6 billion. 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 7.5 billion by the end of 2014 and 8.5 billion by the end of 2016.
• More than half of the world’s mobile subscribers are in Asia Pacific. With 3.6 billion subscriptions, according to the ITU, Asia Pacific accounts for 52.1 percent of the global number. This share is expected to rise – Portio estimates that Asia Pacific’s share of the mobile subscribers will be 54.3 percent in 2016. Portio also predicts that 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 2014
(all figures are estimates)
  Global Developed
Africa Arab
Asia & Pacific CIS Europe The Americas
Mobile cellular subscriptions
6,915m 1,515m 5,400m 629m 410m 3,604m 397m 780m 1,059m
Per 100 people 95.5% 120.8% 90.2% 69.3% 109.9% 89.2% 140.6% 124.7% 108.5%
Fixed telephone lines
1,147m 511m 636m 12m 33m 512m 70m 245m 256m
Per 100 people 15.8% 40.8% 10.6% 1.3% 8.7% 12.7% 24.9% 39.2% 26.3%
Active mobile broadband subscriptions
2,315m 1,050m 1,265m 172m 92m 920m 138m 399m 577m
Per 100 people 32.0% 83.7% 21.1% 19.0% 24.6% 22.8% 48.9% 63.8% 59.1%
Mobile broadband growth
N/A 11.5% 26% 43% 19% 21% 15% 12% 16%
Fixed broadband subscriptions
711m 345m 366m 3m 12m 313m 40m 173m 163m
per 100 people 9.8% 27.5% 6.1% 0.4% 3.1% 7.7% 14.3% 27.7% 16.7%
Source: © International Telecommunication Union (May 2014) via: © mobiThinking

• mobiThinking note: Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed lines 7:1 (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 is happening more slowly – IDC (Sept 2011) predicted 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 (February 2014) believes global mobile penetration reached 92 percent in Q4 2013 and mobile subscriptions now total around 6.7 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 9.3 billion in 2019. 5.6 billion of these will be smartphone subscriptions.
• Ericsson estimates that there were more than 2 billion mobile broadband connections at the end of 2013. By 2019 there will be 8 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. Of these 2.6 billion will be LTE (known as 4G) and 4.8 billion will be WCDMA/HSPA (3G).
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
  Country Mobile subscriptions
in millions
in millions
source: World bank
% of population 3G/4G subscriptions
in millions
% of population Sources:
3G subs
Last update
  World 6,587.4m 7,046m 93.5% 1,876.6m 26.6% Informa 06/13
1 China 1,246.3m 1,351m 92.3% 448.3m 33.2% China Mobile
China Unicom
China Telecom
2 India Active: 772.6m;
total: 893.3m
1,237m 62.5% 41.95m 3.4% TRAI 01/14
3 United 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 272.6m 198.7m 137.2% 110.2m 55.5% Anatel/Teleco 02/14
6 Russia 237.1m 143.5m 165.2% 41.2m 28.7% Informa 06/13
7 Japan 137.9m 127.6m 108.0% 108.8m 85.3% TCA 02/14
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 Active: 128.6m;
total: 175.0m
168.8m 76.2% 12.7m 7.5% NCC
11 Germany 113.6m 81.9m 138.7% 46.0m 56.2% BNA
12 Bangladesh 116.0m 154.7m 75.0% 34.6m* 22.3%* BTRC
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
* Bangladesh: mobile Web subscribers (not necessarily 3G)
via: mobiThinking

• See the 100 million club for more analysis.
• See mobiThinking’s guides to mobile in: BrazilNigeriaJapanGermanyUSAIndia

2b) Top mobile markets: China mobile subscribers by operator

Mobile subscribers in China by operator, February 2014
Operator Subscribers 3G users 4G users
China Mobile 775.6 million 215.4 million 1.3 million
China Unicom 285.7 million 129.0 million N/A
China Telecom 185.0 million 103.9 million N/A
Total 1,246.3 million 448.3 million 1.3 million
Sources: China Mobile; China Unicom; China Telecom via: mobiThinking

Further reading:
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

2013 was the first year that smartphones outsold feature phones (non smartphones) – just. But a lot more people use feature phones than smartphones. See Mobile device shipments, below.
• The tablet is oft touted as a replacement for the desktop or portable PC and sales of tablet computers have been growing strongly, but PCs (desktop and laptops) still outsell tablets, and will continue to in 2014. Thereafter tablets may start to outsell PCs. But with the enormous installed base of PCs it will be many years before Tablet catches PC penetration.
• 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.

Worldwide device shipments by segment (millions of units) according to Gartner Gartner   Smart connected device market by product category (shipments in millions), according to IDC
Type of device 2013 sales 2014 sales 2015 sales   Type of device 2013 sales 2013 share 2017 sales 2017 share
PCs desktop / laptop 296.1 276.7 263.0   Desktop PC 134.4 8.6% 123.1 5%
Tablets (ultramobile) 195.4 270.7 349.1   Portable PC 180.9 11.6% 196.6 8%
Mobile phones 1,807.0 1,895.1 1,952.9   Tablet 227.3 14.6% 406.8 16.5%
Other ultramobiles (hybrid and clamshell) 21.1 37.2 62.0   Smartphone 1,013.2 65.1% 1,733.9 70.5%
Total 2,319.6 2,479.8 2,627.0   Total 1,556 100% 2,460.5 100%
Source: © Gartner (March 2014)   Source: © IDC (Sept 2013)
Via: © mobiThinking

3) Mobile phone shipments

3a) There were 1.8 billion mobile phones sold in 2013, which was marginally higher than the number sold in 2012.
Gartner (February 2014): 1.8 billion handsets were sold in 2013, up 1.2 percent compared with 2012.
IDC (January 2013): 1.8 billion handsets were sold in 2013, up 4.8 percent compared with 2012.
Strategy Analytics (January 2013): 1.7 billion handsets were sold in 2013, up 5 percent compared with 2012.
• These figures include smartphones (54-55 percent of handsets sold in 2013) and feature phones (45-46 percent of handsets sold in 2013). This is the first year that smartphone have outsold feature phones. For more details, see Smartphone shipments by manufacturer. Smartphones – especially the cheap ones are expected to drive handset sales in 2014.
IDC (January 2013): In 2013, five of the world’s top 10 mobile handset manufacturers are Chinese: ZTE, Huawei, TCL, Lenovo and Yulong. Two of the top five smartphone brands are also Chinese: Huawei and Lenovo.
• The star performer, as in 2012, is Samsung. Worldwide one in every four handsets sold, and one in every three smartphones sold (almost) is a Samsung. For more analysis see:
• 2013 handset and smartphone sales and market share: 10 things you need to know

Top 10 mobile phone manufacturers in 2013 (millions of units) according to Gartner   Top five mobile phone vendors, shipments, and market share in 2013 (millions of units), according to IDC
Vendor 2013
market share
market share
  Vendor 2013
market share
market share
Samsung 444.4 24.6% 384.6 22.0%   Samsung

446.7 24.5% 409.4 23.6%
Nokia 250.8 13.9% 333.9 19.1%   Nokia

251.0 13.8% 335.6 19.3%
Apple 150.8 8.3% 130.1 7.5%   Apple

153.4 8.4% 135.9 7.8%
LG 69.0 3.8% 58.0 3.3%   LG

70.0 3.8% 56.6 3.3%
ZTE 59.9 3.3% 67.3 3.9%   Huawei

55.5 3.0% 47.5 2.7%
Huawei 53.3 2.9% 47.3 2.7%            
TCL 49.5 2.7% 37.2 2.1%            
Lenovo 45.3 2.5% 28.2 1.6%            
Sony 37.6 2.1% 31.4 1.8%            
Yulong 32.6 1.8% 18.6 1.1%            
Others 613.7 34.0% 609.6 34.9%   Others

845.2 46.4% 753.1 43.3%
TOTAL 1,807.0 100% 1,746.2 100%   TOTAL

1,821.8 100% 1738.1 100%
Source: © Gartner (Feb 2014)   Source: © IDC (Jan 2014)
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.

“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-banking.

4a) Smartphone shipments by manufacturer

Smartphone sales showed strong growth worldwide, with 1 billion sold in 2013
IDC (January 2014): Total shipments in 2013 were 1,004.2 million units up 38.4 percent from 2012. This makes smartphones 55.1 percent of all handsets shipped.
Gartner (Febuary 2014): Total shipments in 2013 were 967.8 million units up 42.3 percent from 2012. This makes smartphones 53.6 percent of all handsets shipped.
Strategy Analytics (January 2014): Total shipments in 2013 were 990.0 million units up 41 percent from 2012.
Canalys (January 2014): Total shipments in 2013 were 998 million units up 44 percent from 2012.
IDC (January 2014): predicts that smartphone sales will continue to grow, but an ever decreasing rate, reaching 1.2 billion in 2014 and 1.7 billion in 2018.
• Growth is expected to come from the developing world (growth will be slow in the mature, increasingly saturated markets of North America, Europe and Japan) and will be driven by demand for low-priced smartphones. In 2013, one third of smartphones sold for less than US $150 – a trend which IDC expects to continue. In 2014 the average selling price of a smartphone will be $308, in 2018 it will be $260.
Ericsson (November 2013): predicts in 2019 there will be 5.6 billion smartphone subscriptions, out of 9.3 billion total mobile subscription.

Top five smartphone vendors, shipments, and market share in 2013 (millions of units), according to Gartner   Top five smartphone manufacturers in 2013 (millions of units), according to IDC
Vendor 2013
market share
market share
  Vendor 2013
market share
market share
Samsung 299.8 31.0% 205.8 30.3%   Samsung 313.9 31.3% 219.7 30.3%
Apple 150.8 15.6% 130.1 19.1%   Apple 153.4 15.3% 135.9 18.7%
Huawei 46.6 4.8% 27.2 4.0%   Huawei 48.8 4.9% 29.1 4.0%
LG 46.4 4.8% 25.8 3.8%   LG 47.7 4.8% 26.3 3.6%
Lenovo 43.9 4.5% 21.7 3.2%   Lenovo 45.5 4.5% 23.7 3.3%
Others 380.3 39.3% 269.5 39.6%   Others 394.9 39.3% 290.5 40.1%
TOTAL 967.8 100% 680.1 100%   TOTAL

1,004.2 100% 725.3 100%
Source: © Gartner (Feb 2014)   Source: © IDC (Jan 2014)
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, consider this:
• While smartphones outsold feature phones in 2013, it wasn’t by much, and this has not always been the case. In 2013, 45-56 percent of handsets sold were not smartphones; in 2012, 51-55 were not smartphones and in 2011, 68-69 were not smartphones; they were feature phones. Baring in mind that cell phone contracts are for 18 months or two years and many people retain their phones for longer than that, it will be considerable time before the number of smartphones in use outnumbers feature phones.
• The vast majority of handsets are not Apple. 92 percent of handsets sold in 2013 and 2012, were non-Apple; in 2011, 94 percent.
• Beware of the unpredictability of the smartphone market – just three years ago in 2010, Nokia and RIM were the top two smartphone vendors sharing 50 percent of the smartphone market (see IDC’s stats, for example), in 2012 they accounted for 10 percent and in 2013, neither are in the top 5. In 2013, Samsung and Apple share 46 percent of the market – but in 2015, 2016 will they still be sitting pretty? Does your mobile strategy depend on their continued dominance, or do you follow a platform-agnostic strategy i.e. mobile Web and mobile messaging?
• Smartphone sales is not the same as market penetration. At the start of 2014, there were 6.7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, according to Ericsson, of which 1.9 million or 28 percent are smartphones. Make sure your mobile strategy includes the non-smartphone-owning majority. Estimates by Business Insider (December 2013), puts global smartphone penetration at 22 percent.
• See smartphone penetration below.
• 2013 handset and smartphone sales and market share: 10 things you need to know. for more analysis on mobile/smartphone sales and share.

4b) Top markets for smartphone sales

China is now the top market for smartphone sales, but growth is expected to be strongest in India, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil.
• China overtook the US as the largest smartphone market in Q3 2011, according to Strategy Analytics (November 2011) or Q1 2012, according to Canalys (May 2012), and has not looked back since.
IDC (February 2014) predicts that a mind-boggling 420 million smartphones will be sold in China in 2014. The growth of this huge market has contributed to the rise of the Chinese handset manufacturers.
• Brazil, Russia, India, China and Indonesia, collectively known as the BRICI economies are expected by IDC and Canalys to be the fast-growth smartphone markets over the next few years, as smartphone growth stagnates in developed economies (such the US and UK). IDC expects India and Brazil to catch up and overtake the UK (currently the world’s third largest smartphone market) by 2016.
• The IDC chart below does not include sales, but knowing from IDC’s year-end figures that total smartphone shipments in 2012 were 712.6 (which was in line with IDC’s expectations), you can extrapolate sales forecasts for each country in 2012 – China: 190.1 million; USA: 127.7 million; UK: 32.3 million; India: 17.9 million; Brazil: 16.5 million; rest of world: 332.9 million. N.B. The Canalys chart is not the top five, but focused on the fast-growing BRICI economies – we have included the US for comparison.

Top five markets by share of global smartphone sales 2011, 2012, and 2016 according to IDC   Smartphone sales forecasts for BRICI economies compared with US according to Canalys.
Country 2011
market share
market share
market share
  Country 2013
market share

China 18.3% 26.5% 23.0% 26.2%   China 239.8m 28.7% 29.1
USA 21.3% 17.8% 14.5% 11.6%   USA 125m 14.9% N/A
India 2.2% 2.5% 8.5% 57.5%   India 26.5m 3.2% 61.4%
Brazil 1.8% 2.3% 4.4% 44.0%   Russia 18.8 2.3% 30.7%
United Kingdom 5.3% 4.5% 3.6% 11.5%   Brazil 17.2 2.1% 40.0%
Rest of World 51.1% 46.4% 46.0% 18.1%   Indonesia 15.7m 1.9% 51.7%
            Grand total 837.0m 100% 22.5%
Source: © IDC (Aug 2012)   Source: © Canalys (January 2013)
Via: © mobiThinking

4c) Smartphone sales forecasts by region

Smartphone sales are forecast to hit 1 billion in 2013, 1.7 billion in 2017, according to IDC (November 2013).
• Growth is coming from emerging markets, particularly in Asia, while Western economies rapidly approach smartphone saturation. Asia/pacific dominates the market, accounting for 52 percent of sales in 2013 and 59 percent in 2017.
• Growth worldwide is being driven by the rapid fall in smartphone prices worldwide. • For more on smartphone pricing, see Section 4e, below.

Worldwide smartphone forecast by region, shipments, market share and growth 2013-2016: IDC
Region 2013 Shipment Volumes* 2013 Market Share 2017 Shipment Volumes* 2017 Market Share 5 Year CAGR
Asia/Pacific 528.2m 52.3% 986.0m 58.5% 23.2%
Europe 182.1m 18.0% 261.0m 15.5% 11.1%
North America 151.0m 15.0% 189.0m 11.2% 7.8%
Latin America 91.1m 9.0% 154.7m 9.2% 23.7%
Middle East and Africa 57.6m 5.7% 95.0m 5.6% 18.5%
Total 1,010.1 100.0% 1,685.8 100.0% 18.4%
Source: © IDC (November 2013) * Forecasts

Via: © mobiThinking

• 2013 handset and smartphone sales and market share: 10 things you need to know. for more analysis on mobile/smartphone sales and share.

4d) Smartphone shipments/forecasts by operating system market share

The Android operating system dominated new smartphones sold in 2013 and is forecast to remain so through to 2017.
IDC (February 2014): In 2013, 78.6 percent of smartphones sold, shipped with Google’s free Android OS. That is more than five times the number shipped with Apple’s iOS (15.2 percent) and dwarfs Microsoft (3.3 percent) and BlackBerry OS (1.9 percent).
IDC (February 2014): In 2014 Android is expected to maintain its share of the estimated 1.2 billion smartphones sold. Microsoft’s share will also increase, while iOS and BlackBerry’s share will decline.
• In 2018, when IDC predicts there will be 1.7 billion smartphones shipped, Android and iOS will have a similar (or marginally smaller) share to 2014, with 76.0 percent and 14.4 percent respectively. Meanwhile Microsoft’s share will expand to 7.0 percent. BlackBerry’s share is expected to continue its decline to 0.3 percent.
• Other smartphone operating systems will grow to 2.3 percent market share, these include the new Linux-based, Web friendly smartphone operating systems such as Tizen (Samsung, Intel etc), Firefox (Mozilla) and SailFish (Jolla).

Global smartphone operating system share in 2012 and 2013, according to IDC   Global smartphone operating system forecast for 2014 and 2018, according to IDC
Operating System 2013 sales (millions) 2013 market share

2012 sales (millions) 2012 market share   Operating System 2014 sales (millions) 2014 market share

2018 sales (millions) 2018 market share Annual growth (CAGR)
Android 793.6 78.6% 500.1 69.0%   Android 950.5 78.9% 1,321.1 76.0% 10.7%
iOS 153.4 15.2% 135.9 18.7%   iOS 179.9 14.9% 249.6 14.4% 10.2%
Microsoft 33.4 3.3% 17.5 2.4%   Microsoft 47.0 3.9% 121.8 7.0% 29.5%
BlackBerry 19.2 1.9% 32.5 4.5%   BlackBerry 11.9 1.0% 5.3 0.3% -22.6%
Others 10.0 1.0% 39.3 5.4%   Others 15.1 1.3% 40.7 2.3% 32.7%
TOTAL 1009.6 100.0% 725.3 100.0%   TOTAL 1,204.4 100.0% 1,738.5 100.0% 11.5%
Source: © IDC (Jan 2014)   Source: © IDC (Feb 2014)
Via: © mobiThinking

• In some countries, including the US, websites receive a higher number of hits from iOS devices, than would be expected considering the market penetration of iOS devices. See:
• Mobile browsing stats: why do iOS users surf more than Android users?

4e) Smartphone average selling price forecasts

The average selling price of smartphones is falling rapidly, particularly in emerging markets, helping to fuel growth in smartphone sales, according to IDC (November 2013).
• IDC estimates that the average selling price (ASP) of a smartphone was worldwide was US $337 in 2013, forecasted to fall to $265 in 2017.
• In Asia/pacific prices are even lower, with an ASP of $262 in 2013, falling to $215 in 2017.
• North America is the only part of the world where smartphone ASP is expected to rise. If IDC is correct, then North Americans will be paying more than twice the world ASP for a smartphone in 2017.

Worldwide smartphone average selling price (ASP) in US$ by Region and 5-Year CAGR: IDC
Region Smartphone ASP 2013 * Smartphone ASP 2017 * 5 Year CAGR
Asia/Pacific $262 $215 -8.9%
Europe $419 $259 -9.0%
North America $531 $567 2.1%
Latin America $288 $246 -5.7%
Middle East and Africa $338 $230 -7.3%
Total $337 $265 -7.3%
Source: © IDC (November 2013) * Forecasts

Via: © mobiThinking

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5) Smartphone market penetration

The number of smartphones in use worldwide has now broken the 1 billion mark. With the ITU, estimating global mobile subscriptions at 6 billion at the end of 2011, mobiThinking calculates that global smartphone penetration is now 16.7 percent.
Strategy Analytics (October, 2012) calculates that at the end of Q3, 2012 the number of smartphones in use worldwide reached 1.038 billion units. This time last year there were 708 million smartphones in use worldwide. That’s 46.6 percent growth rate in a year. But growth hasn’t always been that strong.
• It has taken 16 years for smartphone penetration to reach 1 billion. The first major smartphone is commonly accepted to be the Nokia Communicator in 1996 – 11 years before Apple’s iPhone. But Strategy Analytics believes that it will only take three years to achieve the next billion.
• Android and Apple iOS combined will account for the significant majority of the global smartphone installed base in 2012. The former top smartphone operating system Symbian continues to decline, following Nokia’s shocking decision to dump the OS in favor of Microsoft in early 2011.
Ericsson (November 2012) forecasts smartphone subscriptions worldwide will be 1.1 billion by the end of 2012 growing to 3.3 billion in 2018. Over that time the majority of mobile subscriptions will be for feature phones. Feature phones (and inactive) subscriptions will remain at around 5 billion in the coming years.

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6) Mobile tablets sales and operating system share

It is debatable whether the tablet is any more a mobile device than a laptop with a WiFi or 3G connection. Tablets are predominantly at consumer device, mostly used at home on using a WiFi connection (see below for details).
The tablet is oft touted as a replacement for the PC, and despite strong sales growth, PCs (desktop and laptop combined) continue to outsell the tablet in 2013, but may not do so in 2014. However, with the huge installed base of PCs worldwide it will be a long time before the tablet catches up with the PC market penetration.
Gartner (March 2014): 195.4 million tablets were sold in 2013. This is less than PC desktops/laptops (296.1 million). In 2014 Gartner predicts that more tablets (270.7 million) will be sold – just – than PC desktops/laptops (276.7 million).
IDC (September 2013): 227.3 million tablets were sold in 2013; this was more than portable PCs (180.9 million).
IDC (March 2014) predicts that there will be 260.9 million tablets sold in 2014. Sales growth will decline to 19.4 percent in 2014, down from 51.6 in 2013.
IDC (March 2014): the average selling price of a tablet fell 14.6 percent in 2013.
Gartner (March 2014): In 2013, sales of Android tablets surpassed iOS tablets with 121 million sales or 61.9 percent market share.

Global tablet operating system share in 2012 and 2013, according to Gartner
Operating System 2013 sales (millions) 2013 market share

2012 sales (millions) 2012 market share
Android 121.0 61.9% 53.3 45.8%
iOS 70.4 36.0% 61.5 52.8%
Microsoft 4.0 2.1% 1.2 1.0%
Total 195.4 100.0 116.3 100.0
Source: © Gartner (March 2014) Via: © mobiThinking

6b) Mobile tablets: consumer or business?

The tablet is sometimes billed as a business machine, perhaps replacing the employee’s laptop. However, to date, the tablet remains predominantly a consumer device.
As tablets are mainly used on a WiFi connection and at home, it is arguable that they aren’t a mobile device.
IDC (March 2014): 89 percent of tablets were sold to consumers in 2013, 11 percent to businesses. The commercial percentage is expected to rise to 14 percent in 2014.
ComScore (February 2013): 94 percent of tablet use is via WiFi.
Consumer Electronics Association (October 2013): only 29 percent of US tablets are 3G/4G capable, and as few as 15 percent tablet owners subscribe to a data plan.
Google (August 2012): tablets are mostly used at home as an entertainment device.

Facebook Q1, 2014 Operational Highlights
• Mobile monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.01 billion as of March 31, 2014, an increase of 34 percent year-over-year. (Total MAUs were 1.28 billion, an increase of 15 percent year-over-year).
• Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 59 percent of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2014, up from approximately 30 percent of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2013. (Total advertising was $2.27 billion, so mobile ads were worth $1.34 billion – that is more than half Facebook’s quarterly income of $2.50 billion).
• See: Section C: for all the stats on mobile marketing, advertising and messaging

7) Mobile phone security and the rise of mobile malware

Only a fraction of smartphones and tablets are protected by security software, despite a rise in the amount of malware targeted at mobile devices.

Estimates for growth of mobile malware (includes viruses, worms and malicious software used by hackers, such as code inserted into compromised mobile apps) vary greatly, but all expects warn that it is growing very fast.
BullGuard identified a staggering 2,500 different types of mobile malware in 2010.
IBM X-Force named 2011 the year of the security breach, predicting that “exploits targeting vulnerabilities that affect mobile operating systems will more than double from 2010”.

Yet most smartphones and tablets have little security protection:
Canalys (October 2011): Only 4 percent of smartphones and tablet computers shipped in 2010 had some form of mobile security downloaded and installed.
Juniper Research (August 2011): Less than 1 in 20 smartphones and tablets have third-party security software installed in them, despite a steady increase in threats.

This is expected to change, let by sales to business:
Canalys: US $759.8 million will be spent on security in 2011 alone, growing at 44 percent annually to be worth US $3 billion in 2015.
Juniper: By 2016, 277 million mobile devices will have some kind of protection installed, costing mobile users a collective US$3.6 billion. 69 percent of this investment will be made by corporations concerned about corporate data is stored on mobile devices.

Further reading:
• The insider’s guide to mobile security
• Mobile security – implications for your business
• Strategies for securing the enterprise in a BYOD world

8) Largest mobile network operators

7a) China Mobile is the largest mobile operator in the world by subscribers and revenues, by a considerable margin according to GSMA Intelligence (July, 2013).
• Notably, while groups such as Vodafone, America Movil and Telefonica span many operators in many countries, China Mobile’s subscribers are only in China. And since these stats were taken in 2013, it has added 50 million subscribers to its base – see the February 2014 stats above.
• Also remarkable are those operators that achieve larger revenues with a smaller (relatively speaking) subscriber base, including Verizon (US), AT&T (US) and NTT DOCOMO (Japan).

Top 15 operator groups by subscribers and revenues – worldwide
Rank Operator group
(HQ location)
Proportionate subscribers
(millions, 2013)

Operator group Annual revenue from mobile
(In US$ Billions, 2013)
1 China Mobile (China) 726.3m 1 China Mobile $90.4B
2 Vodafone Group (UK) 381.8m 2 Verizon (US) $65.1B
3 America Movil (Mexico) 262.9m 3 AT&T $59.7B
4 Bharti Airtel (India) 259.8m 4 Vodafone Group $54.5B
5 China Unicom (China) 250.7m 5 Telefonica $46.8B
6 Telefonica (Spain) 247.3m 6 NTT DOCOMO (Japan) $40.3B
7 VimpelCom Group (Netherlands) 211.9m 7 America Movil $34.5B
8 China Telecom (China) 168.0m 8 Deutsche Telekom $33.4B
9 MTN Group (South Africa) 153.5m 9 Sprint Nextel $29.2B
10 Telenor Group (Norway) 145.3m 10 Orange Group $26.2B
11 Orange Group (France) 140.20m 11 China Unicom $21.0B
12 Telkomsel (Indonesia) 120.61m 12 Au/KDDI (Japan) $19.7B
13 Verizon (US) 114.5m 13 VimpelCom Group $19.6B
14 Deutsche Telekom (Germany) 111.1m 14 Telecom Italia Group (Italy) $16.2
15 AT&T (US) 107.3m 15 China Telecom $14.8B
Source: GSMA Intelligence (2013)
via: mobiThinking

7b) Mobile operators in developed countries could run out of profit in the next two to four years if they do not change their business models, according to research by Tellabs/Analysys Mason (February 2011). This assumes current trends in demand for data, revenues and costs associated with investing in high speed data networks.

When mobile operators in developed economies are expected to run out of profit
(if expenditure, demand and revenue trends remain the same)
Region Worst case scenario median Best case scenario
North America Q1, 2013 Q4, 2013 Q2, 2014
Developed Asia Pacific Q3, 2013 Q3, 2014 Q1, 2015
Western Europe Q1, 2014 Q1, 2015 Q2, 2015
Source: Tellabs/ Analysys Mason (February 2011) via: mobiThinking

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.

Don’t miss:

• EU unfetters the mobile Web, with plan to scrap roaming fees in Europe. When will the rest of the world follow?
• Mobile browsing stats: why do iOS users surf more than Android users?
• UK regulator benchmarks mobile/fixed broadband progress against EU countries
• The insiders’ guides to world’s greatest mobile markets • Latest: Brazil
• Guide to mobile industry awards • Latest: GSMA Global Mobile Awards 2014
• The insider’s guide to mobile learning (m-learning) in Africa: Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, PEI
• Mobile marketing resources: links to the most useful places on the Web (2014 update)
• Mobile SEO best practices for 2014
• Next-generation mobile ads: What is a demand-side platform (DSP) and real-time bidding (RTB)?
• Guide to mobile agencies
• Guide to mobile ad networks
• Mobile events 2014 • best conferences, great discounts and free tickets •
• The big compendium of global mobile stats
• Most popular content on mobiThinking in 2013

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