The vast majority of Europe's mobile customers are contained within its eight largest markets – France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK. Together, these account for nearly 500m of the 700m total, or just over 70%. The largest of these is Germany, with a total of 89.15m at the end of the quarter, while the smallest is Poland which closed the period on exactly 40m mark.
However, there are marked differences in penetration levels across the eight and also, some notable differences in growth rate.
Italy remains by far the most heavily penetrated market, with a level of ownership equating to some 143% of its population, nearly 25ppts more than the second country on this list, Spain. Both are obviously popular holiday destinations, which, given the quarter in question, might inflate the numbers to a degree but thee is little evidence to support this - certainly, neither market has ever seen a fourth quarter slump of the kind that we see in some of the Balkan states.
Subscriber base - Q3 06 – Q3 07
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During the quarter, France took Turkey's place at the bottom of the table. It has been the slowest growing of the eight for several years now and only showed a 0.1ppt improvement in this period, to close at 82.2% penetration. Quite why it should be so far below Italy (60.5ppts) or indeed Germany (26.0ppts) remains a mystery - it is not as though the French are taciturn by nature. It is one of only two markets in Western Europe with a penetration of less than 100% (the other being Belgium) and at the current rate of growth, the 100% mark will not be reached until the Christmas quarter of 2011.
Italy is interesting in that it seems to add about 3ppts of additional penetration in each quarter, almost irrespective of circumstances. None of the other markets are quite so consistent, though the UK and Poland both come close. Perhaps the other highly here is what is happening in Germany - for years, this was one of the dullest markets in Europe, with sub-100 penetration, despite an early start (cellular services were first launched in September 1985).
Penetration rates - Q3 06 – Q3 07
Having broken through the 100% barrier, Germany appears to be accelerating, with over 3ppt gains in both of the last two quarters. Another year at the same pace and it may well overtake the UK.
Between them, these eight markets added 13m new customers in the quarter (65% of the European total) but as the previous paragraph might imply, this growth was by no means evenly distributed. The French market increased by just over 74k, one tenth the gain seen in Spain, which was itself the second slowest growing country. Elsewhere, the level of growth ranged from 1.3m in Poland to 2.6m in Germany. Proportionately, the Ukraine heads the list, having added over 5ppts of penetration in the quarter alone. Unsurprisingly, France takes last place.
Source : Cellular News.