The United Kingdom has been expelled from the list of the world's ten largest markets by Pakistan, as the South Asian market moved on to a total of 70 million customers by the end of Q3 2007, ahead of the UK with 69.3 million. Of course, the UK figure takes into account active customer numbers wherever possible, whilst the Pakistani number does not and almost certainly masks a very significant degree of inactivity. However, the change in the ranking - which uses active numbers wherever possible - is symbolic of current developments in the industry.
Italy also lost a place this quarter, slipping from eighth place to ninth, giving way to Indonesia, which moved up another place having been responsible for relegating the UK to tenth place in Q1 2007. Further down the ranking France also gave ground, this time as not one but two Asian markets - in the shape of the Philippines and Thailand - moved past it to take 15th and 16th places.
Meanwhile looking to the top 20, we find there was only one new entrant, Nigeria, which leapt from 22nd place to 19th in Q3 2007, knocking South Korea to 20th and ousting previous number one South Africa from the top 20. South Africa's status as the world's 20th largest market lasted just three months, as it only overtook Poland to enter the ranking in Q2 2007.
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20 Largest Global Markets by Customer Base
The world's largest market, China, crossed the 500 million customer barrier in Q3 2007 to end the quarter with just under 506 million mobile customers. It is followed in second place by the United States, which missed out on the quarter-billion mark at the end of September by 1.8 million but went on to achieve the milestone in the first half of Q4 2007.
Third placed India also reached a milestone of its own as it broke the 200 million customer barrier to end the third quarter on 205.4 million customers. India took third place in the ranking from Russia in Q1 2007, and at the current pace of growth it should overtake the United States to take second place before 2008 is out. This year should also see Indonesia advance again to take Germany's seventh place, whilst new top-ten entrant Pakistan is also likely to overtake Italy to take ninth place.
The top ten world markets accounted for 52.6% of the global mobile customer base at the end of Q3 2007, down slightly from 53.5% a year earlier. Widening the net to the top 20, the proportion again falls from 71.0% at the end of Q3 2006 to 69.4% at the end of Q3 2007. This is a reflection of the fact that the combined subscriber base of the top 20 markets grew by only 21.4% in the year ending 30th September 2007 - considerably slower than the 30.9% growth seen when aggregating the results from markets in positions 21-225.
At the end of Q3 2007, only five markets worldwide had exceeded a total of 100 million customers, although Japan joined this exclusive club just a few weeks after the end of the period, in November. In overtaking France, both the Philippines and Indonesia broke the 50 million customer barrier in the quarter, reaching totals of 51.3m and 50.2m respectively. The result was that, of the top 20, 17 markets had exceeded the 50 million customer barrier by the end of Q3 2007, including the five aforementioned 100m+ markets.
Moving the bar lower to 20m customers, we find 35 markets qualify, Canada being the most recent addition in Q3 2007. A total of 13 more markets boast customer numbers into eight figures, Kazakhstan, Iraq and Belgium all having broken the 10m customer barrier between the end of June and the end of September, whilst Libya and El Salvador both exceeded 5m in the same period. Looking further down the list, Togo, Guinea, Gabon and Montenegro were the freshmen of the 1m+ customer club in Q3 2007, taking the number of members at the end of the quarter to 135.
Source: Cellular News.