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Global mobile connections surpass 5 billion milestone

Industry adds 1 billion connections in 18 months; on track to reach 6 billion in H1 2012

In Europe, operators have long switched their focus to customer retention and value share rather than customer share. As a result, the migration of prepaid users to contract is happening faster than in any other region. In Western Europe, prepaid connections declined by 2 percent year-on-year in Q1 2010 while contract connections increased by 7 percent. In North America, the situation is different since operators are using wholesale prepaid offers to counter stalling contract growth. Consequently, North American prepaid connections grew by 19 percent compared to 3 percent yearly growth for contract connections. Meanwhile, the strong focus on data services led to 3G connections stealing growth from 2G connections in mature markets. GSM connections declined by 9 percent year-on-year in Western Europe and by 12 percent in North America, compared to 3G growth of 34 percent and 16 percent respectively. In Q1 2010, we found that in both these regions, two thirds of operators’ handset portfolios are 3G-enabled, representing one third of their connections base. In most cases, mobile broadband connections represent a smaller share of operators’ installed base - below 5 percent on average. Consequently, global data ARPU (non-messaging) averaged EUR1.4 in Q1 2010 compared to EUR 1.2 a year ago (an increase of 18 percent). We are seeing a steady progress towards data-centric services and revenues, but voice services still remain the primary source of revenue. In emerging markets, data services revenues are gaining momentum, especially in markets with low fixed-broadband penetration, which allows for fast adoption of bundled deals (fixed, mobile, broadband).

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