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Fall in number of new mobile subscribers

09 апреля 2009

The number of net new mobile phone subscribers in the world fell sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the growth of mobile data revenues stalled for the first time, providing further evidence of the impact of the global economic downturn on the mobile telecoms sector.

The decline in data revenues is particularly worrying for the industry because most network operators, especially those in the more mature developed markets, are counting on expanding revenues from data services such as internet browsing and multi-media downloads to offset flat or declining revenues from traditional voice traffic.

Figures compiled by Informa Telecoms & Media, a London-based telecoms industry consultancy, show that the total of new subscribers to a mobile phone service fell 15 per cent to 162m in the final quarter of 2008.

Traditionally the fourth quarter is the year’s strongest, but in 2008 it was the weakest. Despite this, by the end of 2008, there were just under 4bn active mobile subscriptions globally – a 58 per cent penetration rate.

The region that suffered most during the fourth quarter was Asia-Pacific, with 68.7m net additions, down from 87.6m previously. This represented the lowest quarterly growth in the region for seven quarters. Some of the world’s fastest-growing mobile markets – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines – were hit particularly hard, while growth also slowed markedly in Europe, North America and Latin America, while the Middle East and Africa, where the percentage of the population with mobile phones is still only 38 per cent, proved relatively resilient.

Nick Jotischky, principal analyst for Informa, said: “We do have to take into account the impact of market saturation and the recent restructuring of the world’s largest mobile market, China, which led to a temporary slowdown in growth.”

According to the Informa figures, part of the firm’s quarterly World Cellular Data Metrics report, non-voice revenue spending dipped by 0.1 per cent between the third and fourth quarters to $48.9bn. In contrast, data revenues grew by 5 per cent during the third quarter.

The Informa data suggests many operators in Germany, UK and Italy are experiencing a slowdown in non-voice revenue growth while in parts of Asia Pacific network operators are reporting a decline in spending.


Источник: Financial Times

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