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Mobile Phone Penetration Over 100 Percent

From Aruba to Italy, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Kuwait, the list of countries where the number of mobile phone subscriptions exceeds the size of the population continues to grow. Latest research from Informa Telecoms and Media shows that 30 countries had reached this milestone at the end of the first quarter of 2006. In markets such as the UK, Sweden and Italy penetration has passed 110 percent.

"While the proportion of the population using mobile phones has stabilised in most developed-world markets at around 80-85 percent, the trend among many users for buying second or even third subscriptions shows no sign of slowing," comments Devine Kofiloto, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media. "Operators in these markets are actively encouraging the practice, selling prepaid SIM cards with $5 or $10 of preloaded credit in order to boost their subscription numbers, cut acquisition costs and promote value-added services," continued Kofiloto.

Multiple SIM card ownership may be having a negative impact on operator ARPU but it continues to help increase overall usage levels. This in turn is helping operators in developed markets to stabilise revenues in the face of competitive pressure on tariffs. The phenomenon of multiple SIM card ownership is not restricted to the developed world but is also common in developing markets such as China and Nigeria.

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