TeleGeography: Mobile subscriber numbers fall in Europe due to saturation

Latest research from TeleGeography shows that the number of mobile subscribers in Europe fell by 6 million users in the past year due to several factors including market saturation and the weak macroeconomic situation.

Europe has the highest mobile penetration of any other region in the world at 138 per cent. However, while eastern and western countries each account for about half of the region's 1 billion subscribers, migration to 3G and LTE has been much slower in the east, where 61 per cent of subscribers remain on 2G networks.

In the more developed markets of Western Europe, half of mobile subscribers are on 3G networks, and LTE take-up has been relatively rapid with a 17 per cent market share, according to TeleGeography.

On a global basis, mobile subscribers have now reached 7.1 billion, meaning that the number of mobile lines in service will surpass the world's population later this year. However, the research company noted that regional differences in wireless penetration and subscriber composition leave significant opportunity for growth in some areas.

For example, there is room for continued growth throughout Africa, where mobile penetration stands at just 81 per cent--well below that of any other region. 2G remains the dominant mobile technology, accounting for over 75 per cent of the continent's 912 million subscribers.

While 3G continues to gain popularity as it becomes more widely available, TeleGeography notes that LTE is still almost nonexistent in Africa, with less than half of one per cent of mobile subscribers using the technology as of the first quarter of 2015.

Asia also continues to fuel global growth: between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015, Asia added 194 million subscribers, or over 60 per cent of net new global wireless subscribers.

TeleGeography noted that the Asian mobile market is still far from saturated, however, as there are over 270 million people without a mobile phone. China and India alone account for 2.3 billion subscribers, but while China has emerged as a meaningful 4G market with 162 million LTE subscribers, 90 per cent of Indian mobile subscribers remain on 2G networks, driving the region's ongoing reliance on the legacy technology, the research company added.

For more:
- see this TeleGeography report

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