Mobile phone industry to hit 2% of global GDP

Darren Allan

July 9, 2011

Analyst firm Chetan Sharma has just published its half-yearly assessment of the state of the mobile industry in 2011.

And the firm is predicting that worldwide mobile revenues will reach almost 2% of global GDP this year, standing at $1.3 trillion in total. A powerful group of ten mobile operators controls nearly half of this revenue between them.

Other interesting facts that the report revealed included an estimation of worldwide mobile data revenue, which is going to rise above $300 billion. That’s a lot of data plans (and a lot of extortionate roaming charges, most likely).

Chetan Sharma also points out that the majority of mobile sales in the US are now smartphones. Also, mobile devices are overtaking traditional computers in both volume of sales and revenue – although that’s partly to do with the slump in PC sales (which have taken something of a battering from the recession as well as cannibalisation by the iPad).

And another more worrying fact is that mobile data traffic will be 95% of all mobile traffic in 2015 – that being a concern because many countries will then be looking at a serious bandwidth squeeze.

As for the country with the most mobile subscribers, unsurprisingly that’s China. However, the US may have less customers, but still rakes in more data revenue and overall revenue. Both China and India are on the fast-track to hit a billion mobile subscribers apiece by mid-2012, with India likely to actually overtake China.

Regarding tablets, Chetan Sharma notes how much Apple has locked down the market, but sees room for budget Android efforts to carve market share. It also feels Microsoft will make inroads with Windows 8 slates next year.

Nokia and Rim are singled out as flailing companies, of which a “lack of product planning and execution has left their market share in disarray.”

The firm is more upbeat about the Windows Phone 7 partnership of Nokia and Microsoft, stating that while there hasn’t been much appetite for WP7 yet, an impressive family of devices from Nokia could spark things off.

Maybe, but we remain to be convinced on that one. It’s not just that there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for WP7, Microsoft’s mobile OS market share actually fell quite considerably over the last quarter according to comScore data.

These things can always be turned around, but it would seem an uphill battle, particularly when Android is going from strength to strength.


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