February 07, 2008

Asia: some mobile stats

Marc Last week in Florida I was aware how little cell phones (mobile phones) are used by young people compared to the same teens back in the UK. Marc Leperrouza researches mobile phone use in China, a phenomenon that puts texting UK teens to shame.

  • 2.5 billion mobile users worldwide.
  • 59% of them live in developing countries.
  • Mobile user base grew by 500m in the past 12 months, 25% of which is in China and India.
  • Mobile phones are going to be the primary device to access the internet: they're cheap and you don't need to read or write to access them or the material on them.
  • The top mobile operators in the world include China Mobile (1) with 350m customers, China Unicom (3) and many other Asian countries.
  • Every month there are 5-6m new customers in China.
  • 1m of them are pay-as-you-go with 5m as contracts (they live in the countryside, so it's not easy to fill up your phone).
  • Estimates are that 80-100m Chinese mobile phone users log onto the Internet via their handsets every month
  • They are sending 33 billion text messages per month.
  • Google just partnered with China mobile to make it the default search engine, with access therefore to 350m customers.
  • Location-based services are beginning to permeate.
  • Xiaolingtong (or little smart) - a local cordless phone for those who don't jetset. It's cheaper to implement than GSM and easier to put in place. Old technology for rural markets is better, more reliable, cheaper and easier to use.
  • Chinese mobile users can send text messages in multi-coloured text for different purposes: read for love or blue for jokes messages.
  • 12.55m South Koreans are subscribed to broadband - almost every household
  • 37.89m South Koreans have mobile subscriptions; 43% use the internet on their mobile.

    Mobile phones are beginning to run at 7.2Mbps.

The mobile divide:

  • Only 20% penetration in the countryside, 40% in the cities
  • Bank of China is setting up a rural mobile phone bank system, while China Mobile provides agricultural tips via cell phone for a cheap subscribption rate (about 25c per month).

A final thought from China:
1994: half the world had never made a phone call
2008: there are more mobile phones in the developing world than in the developed world.

If someone doesn't have a mobile phone they will lack basic functions of what it is to be human. In the end, everyone will have at least one cell phone, in China and everywhere.

We know who you are and where you are

Wang Jianzhou, Chiarman China Mobile at Davos.

We must always tread forward but carefully...


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quite informative. Such stats show that mobile is equally popular in Asia though there are many developing countries. Growth rate of Telecom scenario in Pakistan and India is quite impressive.

Very interesting facts!
I was wondering where you got the facts, so I can name the source in the thesis I'm writing.

You'd have to contact Marc - it's his research.

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