China, India driving mobile internet subscriber growth

GSMA Intelligence expects just five markets including China to account for half of the world's new mobile internet subscribers through to 2025 (Image real444 / iStockPhoto)

Just five countries - including China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan – are expected to drive 50% of all new mobile internet subscriber growth between now and 2025, with China leading the pack in terms of growth, according to GSMA Intelligence.

The research arm of mobile industry body GSMA's latest Mobile Trends Report, [PDF] published yesterday, forecasts that the four Asian countries and Nigeria will together account for around 700 million of the 1.6 billion new internet users over the period.

China and India will be by far the biggest growth markets, adding 321 million and 308 million new mobile internet users respectively by 2025. Indonesia is expected to add 75 million new users, while Pakistan and Nigeria will add 53 million each.

The next generation will not just be mobile first in terms of mobile internet use, but mobile only, with GSMA Intelligence forecasting that there will be a total of 3.7 billion mobile only internet users by 2025.

Meanwhile the report forecasts that the revenue growth outlook for mobile operators will be conservative until proven revenue streams emerge for the IoT and 5G. The GSMA expects there to be around 400 million connections by 2022, and over 1.3 billion 5G connections by 2025, representing a global average penetration of 15%.

But growth will be driven by a small number of countries, with China being the single largest market. But South Korea is expected to see the greatest take-up in terms of the percentage of the market's mobile subscriber base by 2025 at 60%, followed by Japan and the US at nearly 50% each.

Globally, LTE will continue to drive the majority of revenue for the next 10 years, with GSMA Intelligence forecasting that the technology will grow to account for 57% of total connections in 2025. Even if 5G's total share exceeds 15% it is expected to complement rather than replace LTE.



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