Wireless Intelligence has collected a list of the world's 20 largest mobile operators, ranked by the number of subscribers, as of the third quarter of 2011.
The firm said that carriers' minority holdings (meaning, any assets that they own less than 50 percent of) are excluded from this list. So, for example, Vodafone and Verizon Wireless are listed separately, since Vodafone does not have a majority ownership of Verizon Wireless.
According to Wireless Intelligence, carriers in Asia and Latin America have been moving up in the rankings of this list during the past year. The firm said there were significant gains by operators in China, India and Indonesia--emerging markets that have been growing at a rapid pace--which has led to slippage among carriers in the United States and Western Europe.
However, the firm said that the top five spots--held by China Mobile, Vodafone, América Móvil, Telefónica, and Bharti Airtel--have remained unchanged during the past year.
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Top 20 global carriers by subscribers (in millions)
Source: Wireless Intelligence