Global mobile subscriptions hit three billion

Multiple SIMs boosting numbers

Worldwide mobile phone subscriptions have hit three billion, according to a new report by Informa Telecoms and Media.

The study, entitled Multiple SIMs: Quantifying the phenomenon taking mobile penetration beyond 100 per cent, estimates that the number of actual mobile users is far lower than the total number of subscriptions.

Informa estimates that the total number of mobile phone users worldwide is around 2.3 billion, equating to 1.32 subscriptions per user. The research firm predicts the number of mobile phone users won't hit the three billion mark until 2009, by which stage it expects subscriptions to break the four billion barrier.

Comparatively, Ireland also has significantly more phone subscriptions than users. The latest figures from ComReg show a total of 4.7 million subscriptions, equating to 112 per cent market penetration.

Informa expects the number of multiple-SIM users to continue to rise as operators seek to extract incremental revenues from customers by offering second SIMs for cheaper call rates, data services, and roaming. The research firm expects this trend to continue in countries such as Ireland where penetration has broken the 100 per cent barrier.

Informa said expansion of the subscription base continues to offer potential for overall revenue growth for operators even as the price per minute for traditional mobile voice services declines.

© 2007 ENN

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