Mobile Subscribers to Hit 5.9 Billion in 2013, Driven by China, India, Africa

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The number of worldwide mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2013 reports Infonetics Research. The firm notes that there were nearly 4 times more mobile subscribers than access line subscribers worldwide in 2008 (3.9 billion vs. 1 billion). In addition the number of mobile subscribers grew 17.4% in 2008 over 2007 while access line subscribers declined 5.5%.

"The global recession did not prevent people from using communication services, but it clearly accelerated the pace of wireline-to-mobile substitution. China, which had half a billion mobile subscribers in 2008, and India together make Asia Pacific the world's largest mobile subscriber region, now and into the future. The EMEA region is next, with strong growth driven by Africa. Mobile subscriptions will continue to grow strongly over at least the next five years, driven mainly by basic voice service needs in these regions, particularly in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China)," projects Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure.

Access lines are disappearing fastest in North America and China, due to the move to fixed-to-mobile substitutions, the switch from copper to fiber lines, and the recession, during which many people ditch their landlines and keep only their mobile or smartphone.

The number of PON FTTH subscribers worldwide is expected to soar at a compound annual growth rate of 32% from 2008 to 2013.

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