Its nearing the end of the year and we can start to see quite clearly what the final numbers for 2010 will look like. I believe these are of considerable interest to many readers, so here is the preview for end-of-year 2010 numbers. I will be blogging the final full year stats for 2010 with even more numbers sometime early next year, perhaps in February (and release my new Cheat Sheet for 2011 with all the stats) but here are the prelim numbers as they are solidifying for the end of the year 2010.
5.2 BILLION ACTIVE MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS
First, as a general metric baseline, be prepared for the 7 Billion number, not as a mobile specific stat, but as the planet's population. We are now at about 6.9 Billion and probably during next year 2011, we will pass the 7 Billion threshold. Just to keep in mind.. Now lets talk mobile stats. The total subscriber count at the end of the year will be.. 5.2 Billion. Thats one active mobile phone subscription for 75% of all live people on the planet of any age. And for those interested, my model says the planet will pass 100% mobile phone subsciption rate per capita sometime in 2014. In human years that might seem like three more years to go but in mobile years, that will seem like only a couple of months haha..
How does that split into real unique users and actual phones in use? Regular readers know that is one of my interests, monitoring the development of the multiple subscription phenomenon and calculating out how many are unique users, and how many actual mobile phones are out there, as we've been reporting on this blog for many years already.
So yes, unique users? At the end of the year we are at about 3.75 Billion unique mobile phone subscribers, as in unique humans who have an active mobile phone account and a mobile phone. Obviously 1.45 Billion of all active accounts, are second or third or fourth accounts for the same person. But note, 3.75 Billion unique people with a mobile phone, reflect 54% of the total planet's population of any age. So just about anywhere you go, if you find two people, odds are there is a mobile phone there as well.
So my proprietary model of mobile phone penetration rates says the subscriptions split up like this:
2.3 Billion people have only one mobile phone account and phone (61% of all people who have a mobile)
1.1 Billion people have two accounts (29%)
350 Million people have three or more mobile accounts (9%)
To put it another way, 39% of those people who have at least one mobile phone (and account) actually have two or more active mobile phone subscriptions.
Then what of the installed base of mobile phones in use? Its more than the number of unique phone owners, but less than the total number of mobile subscriptions (as some have just SIM cards from rival networks and switch the SIM card between networks but using only one phone).
The number of unique mobile phones in use at the end of 2010 will be about 4.25 Billion which is 62% of all people on the planet. Or over 13% of all the people worldwide who have a mobile phone account, already walk around with two phones (or perhaps a mobile phone and a laptop type PC with a 3G dongle data connection, which also counts as an active mobile phone subscription but they are only a tiny fraction of all phone subscriptions still).
920 BILLION IN SERVICE REVENUES
We are nearing rapidly the 1 Trillion revenue number just out of mobile telecoms service revenues. This industry passed the 1 Trillion total value mark over two years ago, when we add in the value of handsets, networks and the other industry revenues. But the total mobile telecoms service revenues, our voice calls, text messages, mobile internet access etc, that value alone, is now nearing the 'Big T'. How near is it? My projection has the total service revenues at 920 Billion dollars for the year 2010. That reflects a growth rate of 6% for the total industry in this, still troublesome year economically.
HOW BIG IS MOBILE DATA? TRY 295 BILLION DOLLARS
Mobile voice calls have grown a bit to about 625 Billion dollars (growth of 2%) and mobile data accounts for about 295 Billion dollars (growth of 17%). Mobile data reflects globally now 32% of total mobile service revenues.
But how big is that? Well, mobile data is now about 10 times as big as the global music industry or hollywood box office revenues. Mobile data is far bigger than radio or the internet industry, even if we add in the subscription fees of broadaband and narrowband/dial-up access for the internet. In fact, mobile data is roughly speaking as big as... both the global internet business AND radio, combined. Thats big. The next target for mobile data? Television! The mobile data industry may pass TV already next year, but I honestly don't know the daily figures for the TV industry incomes, so we'll have to see next year as I'll try to chase the exact numbers. But obviously mobile data is growing so fast, it will definitely pass TV revenues soon, if not next year, then in 2012 the latest.
MOBILE MESSAGING 170 BILLION DOLLARS
The bulk of mobile data revenues is still messaging and SMS text messaging is the biggest part of that. I measure mobile messaging to end this year at the value of 170 Billion dollars (up 12%), with SMS forming 119B dollars out of that, MMS forming 34B dollars and the other messaging types, IM and eMail adding the remaining 19B dollars in 2010.
MOBILE VAS WORTH 125 BILLION DOLLARS
The mobile VAS services, ie non-messaging services have passed the 100 Billion dollar level in 2009 for the first time, and end the year at about 125 Billion dollars, reflecting a growth rate of 28%. The rapid growth of mobile VAS data is primarily driven by virtual properties and virtual money systems inside mobile social networking like QQ in China. Even the Apple iPhone App Store ecosystem has achieved a much-needed boost out of mobile virtual content sales, which account for close to twice as much income to app developers already this year, as the direct payments by users for downloading apps. Still, please don't lose focus, the total iPhone App Store income for 2010 will be roughly 1 Billion dollars, vs 125 Billion dollars of premium mobile content and services (excluding messaging revenues) sold this year. As in last year, the vast opportunity in mobile data is NOT in app stores, its in mobile services.
1.3B NEW PHONES SOLD IN 2010
So yes, we have again good times in new phone sales. The total market for new phone sales will be roughly 1.3 Billion handsets sold this year (this is very much still a 'fudgy' number because of Christmas sales being a big factor and last year's Christmas sales were still so strongly depressed due to the economic crisis, so we may see a surprisingly strong Xmas season for phones this year).
How many are smartphones? I do have my model suggesting about 295 Million new phones sold this year will be smartphones. That number is far higher than any of the major analysts suggested at the start of this year. But also, while we thought it might catch up to PC sales, that won't happen until next year, as the PC industry has also picked up a lot of sales with lower cost PCs in the netbooks and tablets area. But next year its pretty clear that more smartphones will be sold than all types of personal computers combined. It'll be about 47/53 split this year.
The installed base of phones keeps rapidly increasing in capabilities, with the fast replacement cycle of mobile phones and the 'feature creep' where each year phones keep adding more capability. A few highlights from the world's installed base of mobile phones at the end of 2010:
100% can do SMS - this is 4.25 Billion phone handsets that can send and receive messages
97% have at least a basic browser (including WAP, not necessarily color)
95% have a color screen - this is 4 Billion, more than twice the number of TV sets and 3x number of PCs
92% are data-capable (at least 2.5G ie GPRS or basic CDMA 2000)
85% support MMS - this is 3.6 Billion, more than twice number of TV sets and 2x active users of eMail
81% are cameraphones - this is 3.4 Billion cameras
76% have a full brower ie HTML type of browser (compare with 17% which is total number of smartphones)
62% have a media player
61% support apps using Java or Brew (compare with 17% which is total number of smartphones)
51% have a memory card slot
35% are 3G phones (not nearly all are on 3G networks)
21% support WiFi
17% are smartphones
12% are second-hand phones (mostly in emerging world countries, but also with younger kids)
There, some interesting tidbits out there? For example that if you take all smartphones (remembering Symbian is far bigger than Android or iPhone in installed base globally) - and you create a strategy to launch some app for one of them - like iPhone or Android for example - the number of apps-capable Java/Brew phones is almost 4x bigger than the TOTAL installed base of ALL brands of smartphones. And iPhones and Androids account both for less than one quarter of the installed base of all smartphones. What is wrong with this picture haha.
Or even more compelling - the number of full browser phones in use, outnumbers smartphones in use globally by 5 to 1. The number of MMS-capable phones outnumbers all smartphone in use by 5 to 1. And the number of WAP enabled phones outnumbers all smartphones by almost 6 to 1. Shouldn't a 'mobile strategy' start with WAP or HTML or MMS - all which can do rich, video and images and sounds-based interactive multimedia mobile experiences - before bothering with creating a smartphone app for some individual smartphone platform? But we digress. Lets get back to end-of-year 2010 numbers.
SMS HAS 4.1 BILLION ACTIVE USERS
And the users of those capabilities. The planet has 5.2 Billion paid mobile phone subscriptions. How many of those are used for various data capabilities? Well, it starts from the largest data application on the planet, with by far the most users, and that is SMS. We have reached now the point where 80% of all mobile phone subscriptions are used for SMS data. Thats 4.2 Billion people. That is truly massive. More people receive and send SMS than listen to radio globally. 2.5 times more use SMS than watch TV or use the internet. And SMS alone earns 119 Billion dollars. Awesome.
The camera on the phone is used by 65% of all mobile phone subscribers (remember only about 4 out of 5 phones has a camera today). But of the population on the planet, that means 49% of all people on the planet have both access to, and actively use - the camera on their phone. Stand-alone digital cameras lost the battle years ago, and sell about 100 million new units per year, mostly to affluent Westerners.
How is advertising doing on mobile phones? We have passed the 2 Billion recepient point, and at the end of 2010, the number of people on the planet receiving ads has passed 2.1 Billion people - far more than any other media with advertising except radio. For comparison, this is over 4x more than total circulations of all newspapers on the planet including paid and free newspapers.
MMS HAS 1.95 BILLION ACTIVE USERS
MMS is nearing the magical 2 Billion level in active users. I have it at 1.95 Billion for the end of the year, so keep your eyes out for the analysts who may report the 2 Billion active user number soon. Obviously MMS has more active users than all internet users or total number of TV sets on the planet. Remember all those 'pundits' who suggested MMS was somehow a failure. Earning 34 BIllion dollars globally (yes more than Hollywood or the global music industry or all software revenues of the videogaming industry) and reaching almost 2 Billion active users in only 8 years? If this is failure, I would love to be such a failure too.
The 'mobile internet' user base is past 1.5 Billion active users today. This includes WAP. The user numbers of smartphone and featurephone users who access 'the real web' ie the older 6th mass media 'legacy internet' on a phone or on a connected laptop, iPad etc, is 830 million people, just over half of all mobile internet users. Even if we exclude WAP as 'not the real web' - the number of how many access the 'real web' on a phone is nearing half of all internet users. Obviously the number of people who accessed web content on a phone including WAP use, passed the half point more than a year ago and in many countries in Africa and India and giant countries like Russia, Indonesia and China - the majority of internet access is from mobile phones, not PCs, and much of that is basic WAP access. In India for example the regulator tells us mobile phone (including WAP) access to the web outnumbers PC access by 9 to 1. But even in lagging mobile markets like the USA, the mid-point is nearing, as for example the tracking by Webcredible has been reporting.
AN ACTIVE MOBILE ACCOUNT FOR ALL OVER AGE OF 13
So there you go. The planet is marching steadfastly towards the 100% penetration level. I calculate for fun the metric of what age doesn't have a phone anymore. So if we take the total number of all active mobile phone subscriptions on the planet, and distribute them evenly by age, so that all elderly get one phone subscription, and then distribute down the age pyramid of the planet, we get a division point that is perhaps interesting to monitor, as we approach the 100% per-capita penetration rate in the coming years. And by that count, there would be an active mobile phone subscription for every person on the planet over the age of... 13 years. Every person alive who has reached 14 years of age would have a phone, and we now in the last months of 2010 are adding phone accounts to 13 year olds.. Its an interesting way to think about this penetration rate race.
Thats the view to the end of 2010 in the astonishing world of mobile. All numbers here are yours to use, quote the source as TomiAhonen Consulting, November 2010. I will be issuing the actual final numbers when the new TomiAhonen Almanac will come around early February of 2011. For those who need more numbers, remember that the TomiAhonen Almanac 2010 has 180 pages and over 80 tables and charts of all the major stats for the industry, effective to the start of this year, so they are still quite valid data points. You can see free sample data of the Almanac which only costs 9.99 Euros, at its ordering and info pages here: TomiAhonen Almanac.