Mobile will be trillion-dollar industry by 2013

Steven Hartley/Ovum
15 Feb 2010

Our latest mobile forecasts predict that global connections will reach 6.49 billion in 2014, with revenues of $1,036 billion. However, “emerging maturity” in emerging markets and continued competition in developed markets will hit operators hard. Operators must seize the initiative to benefit from the huge scale of the mobile industry.

Our estimate for global connections in 2009 (4.56 billion) is 1.2% lower than previously forecast. However, by 2014 our forecast of 6.49 billion connections is 1.1% higher than our previous estimate.

The upgrade in our 2014 outlook is driven by Asia-Pacific which, thanks to China and India, will remain the connections growth engine, accounting for 63% of global net additions between 2009 and 2014. As a result of this increased focus on emerging markets, global prepaid connections will grow from 3.30 billion in 2009 to 4.79 billion in 2014.

Conversely, developed market connections have borne the brunt of the recession. Therefore, we have dampened our expectations in most developed markets. There is still growth – a CAGR of 2% from 2009 to 2014 in Western Europe, for example – but operator strategies in mature markets must reflect the shift in emphasis to maintaining profit levels rather than top-line growth.

Pressure on developed market players is reinforced in our revenue forecasts. Currency fluctuations make comparisons with earlier numbers difficult, but our revenue estimate for 2009 ($873.96 billion) is 1.6% lower than before. By 2014 we expect the 2014 figure to be $1.04 trillion, 7% lower than previously forecast.

However, we still expect a CAGR of 3% over the forecast period, with over $1 trillion dollars in revenues in 2013. Much of this revenue growth comes from the extraordinary connections growth in emerging markets – North America and Western Europe’s contribution to global revenues will fall from 44% in 2009 to 40% in 2014.

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