One SIM per person on the planet, but still too many unconnected
Global mobile penetration reached 100% at the end of 2015, meaning that on average there is one SIM card per person on the planet, according to global analyst firm Ovum.
Ovum’s latest research* illustrates the phenomenal growth seen in the mobile industry in the past decade, with global mobile penetration expanding from just 33% at the end of 2005 to 100% at the end of last year.
Figure 1: Global mobile penetration trend since 2000 and 2015 penetration by region
This is not to say that everybody on the planet is mobile-connected. Regional disparities still exist: in Africa and developing Asian markets penetration is still low, at 82% and 79% respectively, meaning that today these regions are 10 years behind Europe and North America. Issues of availability and affordability still need to be addressed by the overall mobile industry. Only at the end of the decade will Africa and developing Asian markets approach the 100% penetration mark, according to Ovum forecasts.
Meanwhile, machines are becoming increasingly connected: in some countries of the developed world one in 10 SIM cards are used to connect machines such as cars, electricity meters, and other objects. On average 4% of the world’s SIM cards are used to connect machines, a ratio that Ovum expects to double to almost 8% in 2020.
As Dario Talmesio, Ovum’s European Practice Leader, observes: “100% penetration is undoubtedly a significant milestone, but we should be mindful of a few caveats. There are still big regional differences, and of course rural penetration in developing markets continues to lag far behind that in urban areas. We also need to account for machines, which are taking an increasingly significant share of the overall pie.”
Note to Editor
* World Cellular Information Service,
To arrange an interview with Dario Talmesio or for further details regarding this release, please contact Jennifer Duraisingam at the Ovum Press Office on +613 9601 6723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ovum is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. Through its 180 analysts worldwide it offers expert analysis and strategic insight across the IT, telecoms, and media industries. Founded in 1985, Ovum has one of the most experienced analyst teams in the industry and is a respected source of guidance for technology business leaders, CIOs, vendors, service providers, and regulators looking for comprehensive, accurate, and insightful market data, research, and consulting. With 23 offices across six continents, Ovum offers a truly global perspective on technology and media markets and provides thousands of clients with insight including workflow tools, forecasts, surveys, market assessments, technology audits, and opinion. In 2012, Ovum was jointly named Global Analyst Firm of the Year by the IIAR.
Ovum is a division of Informa plc, one of the leading business and academic publishing and event organisers globally, headquartered in London. Informa is quoted on the London Stock Exchange.