GSMA demystifies mobile statistics

Posted by on October 19, 2012  /  2 Comments

India’s mobile penetration is merely 26 percent and China’s is just 43 percent, says “Unique subscriber penetration” data of GSMA. The mobile industry’s trade body has also revealed that only 45 percent of the world’s population have subscribed to mobile services.

It says the number of mobile subscribers globally will be 3.2 billion by Q4 2012, growing to 4 billion within the next five years.

Such unpleasant findings are the results of a primary research, undertaken by the GSMA’s Wireless Intelligence team over three years and across 39 developed and developing markets. Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA, said:

This research, for the first time, highlights the difference between mobile connections and individual mobile subscribers, and points to a significant growth opportunity for the mobile industry as we continue to connect the world’s population. By identifying inactive SIMs and multiple SIM ownership, we have developed the most accurate measurement of the global mobile subscriber base, which shows that only 45 per cent of the world’s population has subscribed to mobile services.

Europe has the highest (90 percent) and Africa has the lowest (33 percent) mobile penetration in the world. Africa is expected to increase to 40 percent in 2017. In Asia, the penetration stands 40 percent, and is expected to grow to 49 percent by 2017. Globally the consumers are using an average of 1.85 SIM cards each. Here is the full story.


  1. We have consistently questioned the reporting of SIM counts and interpretation thereof: e.g.,

    Now, finally, others have caught on. But we need time to assess their methodology.