In the last twenty years, few industries have grown as fast as the worldwide market for mobile phone services.
Having recorded a staggering 3.9 billion subscriber additions between 2000 and 2009 -- a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.3 percent -- the worldwide mobile subscriber base is forecast to increase from 4.6 billion in 2009 to 7.5 billion by 2020, according to the latest market study by Portio Research.
This subscriber growth has propelled worldwide mobile penetration from 11.5 percent in 2000 to pass 64 percent by 2009 -- and by 2020 it is forecast reach 94 percent.
Up until 2000, Europe dominated the worldwide mobile market -- in terms of subscriber numbers -- but shortly thereafter Asia Pacific replaced Europe as the world leader and has continued to remain so in terms of subscriber base.
However, now Africa and Middle East are adding mobile phone subscribers to the worldwide base much faster than any other region.
Since their 1992 launch, mobile value added services (VAS) -- a key component of mobile services worldwide -- have evolved from simple texting (SMS) to advanced functions such as mobile entertainment, payments, location-based services, e-mail and instant messaging (IM).
Despite this evolution, SMS (simple text messaging service) remains the most popular mobile VAS offering in almost all mobile markets in the world.
In 2000, 303 million mobile handsets were shipped at a worldwide level -- this figure will approach 1.5 billion by 2014. Smartphones, with their myriad features and functions, are increasingly gaining prominence in the worldwide handset market.