Top Ten: Emerging Markets Carriers

The growth of telecom services in emerging markets has attracted the interest of the biggest worldwide carriers, all of them grappling with mature markets at home, including the likes of Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Orange (NYSE: FTE), and Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT). But who is their competition? And which are the largest carriers operating solely in developing countries?

The table below shows the Top 10 emerging markets carriers by revenues (converted into U.S. dollars) for the six months to September 30. And from the links at the bottom of this page, you can read more about each carrier's size, scope, and competitive situation. But first, here's the Top 10 list:

Table 1: Top 10 emerging markets carriers by revenues
Ranking Carrier Country Revenues for 6 months to Sep 07 (in US$ billions) Revenues for 6 months to Sep 07 (in local currency)
1 China Mobile China 24.32 180.76 billion Yuan Renminbi
2 America M�vil Mexico and 16 other countries in the Americas 13.99 153.17 billion Mexican Pesoes
3 China Telecom China 11.91 88.59 billion Yuan Renminbi
4 China Unicom China 6.40 47.6 billion Yuan Renminbi
5 MTN 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East 5.06* 34.21 billion South African Rand
6 Saudi Telecom Saudi Arabia 4.55 17.03 billion Saudi Riyals
7 MTS Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan 4.18 reports in US$
8 Telkom SA 14 countries in Africa 4.02 27.23 billion South African Rand
9 VimpelCom Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan 3.21* reports in US$
10 Bharti India 3.11 122.42 billion Indian Rupees
*most recent figures available are for 6 months to June 07
VimpelCom reports third-quarter results on Nov. 29

Operating in the world's largest telecom market, China's state-run carriers dominate with three entries in the top 10 thanks to sheer number of subscribers. At the other end of the scale, Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) makes the list, thanks to the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) in the Middle East.

Table 2: Subscribers as of Sept. 30
Ranking by revenues Carrier Subscribers as of Sept. 30 (in millions) Ranking by subscriber
1 China Mobile 349.66 1
2 America M�vil 147.2 3
3 China Telecom 223.44 2
4 China Unicom 115.92 4
5 MTN 54.16 6
6 Saudi Telecom 19.5 10
7 MTS 77.97 5
8 Telkom SA 36.18 9
9 Vimpelcom 47.6 8
10 Bharti 50.95 7

The top three -- China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) -- are way ahead of the pack, with revenues well above $10 billion for the six-month period.

At number 10, India's Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) managed to edge out Kuwait-based Zain Group , with its second and third quarter numbers to make it onto the list -- the latter had reported higher revenues during the first quarter of this year.

But those are just a few of the big, emerging carriers. Click the links below for more on each telco making this white hot list:

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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