Four billion global mobile subscriptions set for end of 2008

At the end of 2008, there will be four billion global mobile subscriptions, according to the latest forecasts from Informa Telecoms & Media.

Assuming that the world’s four billionth mobile subscription comes during the fourth quarter of 2008, it will have taken just five full quarters for the latest billion net additions.

The engine for this rapid growth has been the tremendous consumer demand seen in emerging markets, such as China and India, where in each of these countries there have been over 50 million new mobile subscriptions in the last six months alone, as well as significant growth in markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Brazil.

The rise of global mobile subscription numbers is, however, set to slow, with Informa Telecoms & Media’s forecasts suggesting the five billionth subscription will be signed during 4Q 2011, with worldwide penetration reaching in excess of 70% by this time. Only in Africa will penetration at the end of 2011 still be below 50%.

Informa Principal Analyst, Nick Jotischky, stated: “It is clear that the mobile industry will see a slowdown in growth, it is simply untenable for the extraordinary growth witnessed over the last 18 months to continue. Even taking the fastest growing regions of Asia Pacific and Africa into account, where we will see well over 20% year on year growth in subscription numbers this year, our forecasts suggest that this growth rate will slow to below 10% in 2010.”