Emerging Mobile Markets 2008 Report, analyses 34 countries around the world – from Afghanistan to Vietnam – and includes the key countries from the regions of Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. There are also separate sections on the largest countries of China, India and Brazil. For each country there is an overview of the main trends, operators and new services being launched in each country. The report also includes a subscriber forecast for the next 5 years (to the end of 2013) for each of the 34 countries surveyed.
Emerging Mobile Markets identifies the following key trends that will impact subscribers, investors and operators over the years ahead:
– Emerging Markets will continue to increase in their importance. Already subscribers in the 34 countries total over 2.1 billion users (based on operator statistics as of mid-2008) which accounts for half of the world’s mobile users (based on ITU estimates). By 2013 the 34 countries will have grown to 4.3 billion mobile users and will account for around two thirds of global mobile users
– Although China and India will remain the two single largest markets throughout the period due to their large populations, the fastest growth in new mobile subscribers over the next 5 years is set to come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Cambodia and Indonesia. By 2013 Iraq is forecast to have the highest mobile penetration rate of all of the 34 countries.
– Another striking feature is the deployment of 3G and HSDPA mobile networks across all regions which is likely to continue. Although 3G handset costs are currently prohibitively expensive for the mass market there is evidence of adoption by high spending user groups who are using 3G for VoIP and peer-to-peer applications as an alternative to fixed line broadband.
– The adoption of mobile broadband is likely to continue and will become a key factor in driving up subscriber levels. Mobile operators with experience of developing markets are introducing their bundled data services into their emerging markets, for example Orange with its Business Everywhere package. The introduction of new USB dongles with flat rate tariffs – and larger data allowances – will spur adoption
– The use of inclusive call minutes is also increasing. Inclusive call minutes are being used as a short term customer acquisition tool, with unlimited on-net SMS or calls offered for a 24 or 48 hour period. They are being used as a retention tool with low on-net calls to particular user communities, and finally as a flat rate price differentiator across all networks where competition is severe.
– The availability of new mobile licences and spectrum is continuing to attract investors as Governments seek to raise new revenue with licence auctions and existing providers look for foreign investors. New mobile operator investment is taking place in India, Cambodia, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Vietnam among others.
– Mobile operators are starting to segment their product offer for particular user groups. Mobile packages are now being developed for the youth segment, a trend that we expect to increase given the relatively low age of most emerging market populations.
– As markets approach maturity, mobile operators are attempting to develop new forms of distribution channel to attract the low income subscriber with lower dnomination top-up cards and door to door sales and sub-agents.
“The rapid growth of mobile penetration across the world indicates that these markets will approach maturity more quickly than previously thought,” commented Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy Ltd. “By the end of 2013 we are likely to see one SIM card for every person as the norm in most countries,” she added. “However we should be careful to over-emphasise the significance of this trend, as the incidence of multiple SIM ownership – particularly in the cites – has long been common in emerging markets as there is such a large difference between on net and off net tariffs.”
Over time pricing policies pursued by the mobile operator will need to change in order to promote greater mobile operators. Operators who continue to promote multiple SIM ownership with large differences between on-net and off-net tariffs will ironically contribute to relatively low levels of operator loyalty.
Emerging market mobile operators are likely to find that growth will come from inclusive flat rate deals for both voice and data which will drive usage as has been the case in developed markets.
“The imminent launch of mobile broadband data services provides an exciting new revenue stream as users are able to break free of low speed fixed or dial up access which will continue to have relatively poor levels of penetration. Mobile is going to become the standard for accessing the internet in many of these countries from now on,” adds Margrit Sessions.