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Top 10 Emerging Mobile Markets 2007

Light Reading
LR Mobile Report
Light Reading

Emerging markets are firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to global mobile growth, and in 2007 that growth accelerated as the top 10 racked up hundreds of millions of new subscribers.

Last year, the 10 developing countries that registered the most new subscribers gained a combined total of 320 million. That was 35 million more than in 2006, when the top 10 added more than 285 million new customers. (See Top 10 Emerging Mobile Markets .)

By contrast, the world's mature markets are now so saturated that even if the ranking was open to them, too, only one, the U.S., would have made the cut.

The 2007 ranking, shown in the table below, has shifted somewhat from last year. While Ukraine – in 6th place last year, now down in 15th – and Nigeria – 9th in 2006, but now 13th – dropped off the list, Iran and Egypt made the cut thanks to the launch of new operators during the year. On a broader scale, the introduction of those countries to the ranking reflects accelerating mobile customer growth in the Middle East. (See Who Does What: Middle East Carriers.)

Table 1: Top 10 Emerging Markets by Mobile Subscriber Growth

Ranking Country Subscriber Additions in 2007 (in millions) Total Subscribers Dec 2007 (in millions) % increase over Dec 2006 2006 ranking
1 China 86.22 547.3 18.7 2
2 India 84.01 233.63 56.15 1
3 Indonesia 29.31 92.94 46.06 5
4 Pakistan 28.59 76.88 59.2 3
5 Brazil 21.06 120.98 21.08 7
6 Russia 20.95 172.87 13.79 4
7 Vietnam 12.68 35.18 56.33 10
8 Bangladesh 12.61 34.37 57.95 8
9 Iran 12.43 28.51 77.3 --
10 Egypt 12.06 30.07 67.02 --
Total 319.92 1372.73 25.03
Source: National regulator statistics
Numbers for Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam, and Iran are based on company data

China and India are once again far ahead of the pack, though this time China has claimed the top spot, boasting 86 million additional mobile subscribers compared with India’s 84 million.

The bottom end of the Top 10 ranking is even tighter, as positions 7 to 10 each added between 12 and 13 million new mobile subscribers last year.

Just off the list was Mexico: If we had been doing a Top 11 it would have propped up the table with 11.22 million new mobile subscribers.

At this point it's worth noting that exact subscriber counts are hard to come by for countries whose regulators have not released statistics, so some calculations have been made based on aggregate carrier data.

For the full Light Reading report on the top 10 mobile growth markets (outside the U.S.) that registered the largest increases in new mobile subscribers in 2007, click here.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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