China Mobile is still the world’s top mobile phone operator, Vodafone is the distant second

October 23, 2012
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    After hearing about the breathtaking figure of worldwide cellphone subscriptions just a couple of weeks back, we now have some new numbers shedding light on the telecommunication companies that are leading this “mobile phone revolution”.

    Wireless Intelligence’s new report has a top 20 global operator rankings based on data from 2012’s second financial quarter (April – June), and, while there’s no major surprise at the highest heights of this classification, there are some interesting conclusions to be drawn here.

    First off, let’s give credit where credit is due and congratulate China Mobile for remaining the top telecommunications service provider, with a whopping 683.08 million customers. Despite increasing competition from China Unicom and China Telecom, Mobile has enjoyed an 11% year-on-year growth in the number of mobile subscribers, but also leads the ranks by a mile in revenue, with $22.05 billion.

    Talking about China Mobile’s internal opponents, we should note that both China Unicom and Telecom are now in the top 10 worldwide operator ranks for the first time ever. Unicom is number six, with around 220 million subscribers and a 21% increase over the past year, while Telecom has jumped from 12th to 10th, with over 144 million subscribers and a year-on-year growth of 33%.

    This definitely calls for a celebration over in China, but it also goes to show us that we weren’t wrong when claiming that there’s a “revolution” in the works in “The Middle Kingdom”. Now just imagine what’s going to happen in 2015, when 40% of Chinese smartphones should be priced below $200, according to projections.

    India is another major mobile phone market, closing in on a billion subscriptions by the day, but surprisingly the leading operator of the nation is only fourth in the global rankings, with 250 million subscribers. Bharti Airtel is however on the rise, moving up one position since last year and boosting its customer portfolio with 13%.

    The distant second behind China Mobile is a much easily recognizable name for us Westerners, but also a company that’s threatening Bharti’s leading position in India. We’re talking of course about Vodafone Group, the UK-based multinational telecommunications giant that operates networks in over 30 countries across the world, topping 386 million subscribers.

    Vodafone has only boosted its customer numbers with 5% between Q2 2011 and Q2 2012, but is still way ahead of the number three mobile operator, Latin America’s América Móvil Group. Spain’s Telefónica is fifth, one position down from last year, Russia’s VimpelCom is seventh, while India’s Reliance and Norway’s Telenor come in eight and ninth respectively.

    Lower on the ranks we’re seeing France Telecom enjoying an impressive increase of 57% year-on-year, which has helped the company jump 9 positions in the ranks, from 21 to 12.

    Another interesting detail is that all top 20 telecom operators have enjoyed increases in their subscriptions numbers, the most modest of the bunch being Deutsche Telekom, with a 2% bump.

    As far as mobile revenue goes, Verizon Wireless and AT&T are second and third to China Mobile, while Vodafone and Telefónica are wrapping up a very different top 5 than that of the number of subscriptions. We can’t help notice therefore that the money (or a big chunk of it) is still in the States, with Big Red and Ma Bell capable of raising around $15 billion each from just around 105 million customers.

    Any other thoughts on Wireless Intelligence’s report? Surprised by something?

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    Comments

    • IncCo

      Honestly.. china mobile should barely even be counted, of course they will be on top when there is 1,4 billion people living there! Im sure they (read: the chinese government) dont give any other operators a real shot at that market.

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