The total number of cellular mobile connections in the world has now reached 2.5 billion, having passed through the two billion mark just 12 months ago.
The take-up figure comes from Wireless Intelligence – the joint research venture between analyst Ovum and the GSM Association.
“The cellular industry took 20 years to reach one billion, three years to reach two billion connections and is now on target to reach its third billion in a period of just over two years,” said Martin Garner, director of Wireless Intelligence.
“Worldwide growth is currently running at over 40 million new connections per month - the highest volume of growth the market has ever seen,” said Garner.
Over the four quarters to the end of September 2006, world total net additions were 484 million.
Of these, 41% were in the Asia Pacific region. Eastern Europe and Latin America together accounted for 30% of the growth. Africa took 10% of the growth and the relatively mature markets of Western Europe, North America and the Middle East took the remaining 20% in more or less equal measure, said Wireless Intelligence.
“Most of the growth is coming from cellular markets with lower levels of market penetration than exist in Europe, for example,” said Garner. “These are often referred to as 'emerging markets', although many of them now have very large, well developed and sophisticated cellular markets with market penetration moving quickly towards European levels.”
The top ten countries for volume of new connections over the last year were China, India, Russia, USA, Pakistan, Ukraine, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and Bangladesh. Between them, they account for over half of the growth in the world cellular market over the last 12 months.
A quarter of the growth is coming from China and India. China’s market is still expanding at more than five million new connections per month. India has moved rapidly up the top ten list, with the rate of new connections quadrupling over the last 18 months to reach a level very close to China’s.
Wireless Intelligence forecasts that the next half billion new connections will take a little longer to be added – 16 months – meaning that the market is on track to reach three billion connections around the end of 2007.
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