India and China together accounted for approximately 35 per
cent of the estimated 180 million new subscriptions added in
the fourth quarter of 2011. Brazil, Indonesia and Bangladesh
complete the top five countries in terms of new
"Over the last decade mobile services have moved from
being a premium offering to a mass market product," Bhanu
Chaddha, IDC's senior research analyst in telecommunications
for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, told Gulf News.
"It has brought about a transformational change in the
way people communicate. In fact, many studies have
established a direct correlation between increase in mobile
penetration and the GDP growth rates.
"Mobile is now playing a crucial role in socio-economic
development, especially in the emerging markets of Africa,
Asia and the Latin America.
"With mobile services, traders living even in remote
hinterland can have access to real time market information
and can hence make informed business decisions."
The International Tele-communication Union (ITU) reported
that the fixed-line market continues to decline, as it has
done since 2005, especially in developed countries where
mobiles now dominate.
"Over the past two years, the world has witnessed
continuous growth of ICT services and uptake worldwide,"
said Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU's Tele-communication
"All 152 economies included in the ICT Development Index
(IDI) have improved their scores, confirming the continuous
spread of ICT and the growing global information society.
"While most of the leading IDI countries are still from
the developed world, it is encouraging to see that the most
dynamic performers are developing countries.
"The majority of these are middle-income countries,
however, and most of the least developed countries remain at
the bottom of the index."
Internet users have doubled over the past five years to
more than two billion worldwide, the ITU report shows.
Mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 60 per cent
year-on-year and now number close to 1 billion.
Smartphone uptake remains strong in all regions.
Approximately 30 per cent of all handsets sold in 2011 were
smartphones, compared to 20 per cent in 2010.
However, smartphones account for only 10 per cent of
worldwide subscriptions, which suggests there is
considerable room for growth.
The growth in mobile data traffic also continues,
doubling between the third quarters of 2010 and 2011,
matching the rate recorded between the second quarters of
2010 and 2011. Quarterly growth between the second and third
quarters of last year was 18 per cent.
Mobile voice traffic has doubled over the past four years
and continues to increase at a steady pace. This is
especially true in regions where there has been a
considerable increase in subscriptions, such as the
developing nations in Asia.
Mobile data traffic
The traffic generated by mobile PC users varies widely
between individuals and markets, but Ericsson estimates the
global average is around 2GB per month.
Ericsson says mobile data traffic will grow ten-fold
between 2011 and 2016, mainly driven by video, while mobile
broadband subscriptions are expected to grow from 900
million in 2011 to almost 5 billion in 2016.
That would represent 60 per cent year-on-year growth, at
the same time as the data consumed by smartphone users is
surging. Total smartphone traffic is expected to triple
By 2016, users living on less than 1 per cent of the
Earth's total land area will generate 60 per cent of mobile