Smartphone penetration growth in emerging markets

Smartphone penetration

Smartphone continues to rise in the developing world. According to a GSMA report, by 2025, smartphone penetration will reach 80% globally. The countries contributing to the significant increase includes, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Consumer behavior is shifting and changing. 70% of smartphones will run on LTE, which reflects the dominant influence of the mobile internet generation. Unlike Europe and the United States, operators can still leverage profit from emerging markets who have yet to be dominated by the tech giants.

Operators will have to step up efforts to provide reliable and efficient service delivery to the remaining ‘unconnected’ demographic within emerging markets, who need smartphone connectivity; the growing base of mobile internet users (from emerging markets) access internet directly from their mobile device and not from PCs.

As a result of this shift in mobile user behavior, there will be an inevitable rise in the growth of app development and online content – to meet the demands of our mobile-centric mindset. It is predicted that by 2021 there will be an estimated 7 billion mobile users worldwide.

In some countries, including Malaysia, India and Thailand, the average monthly data usage consumption has surpassed 10GB. In India, Jio’s competitively lower 4G data packages, partly justifies the rapidly growing consumption rate. But with recent talks about increasing spectrum pricing, the cheapest service provider in the world, may modify their rates respectively. However, according to analysts, this change will not curb the rate of consumption in the country.

Smartphone penetration has almost doubled throughout Thailand since 2014, with 38.5 million (55.9% of the population) using these devices in 2019. A survey revealed that most mobile users expect 5G technology to be available in a couple of years with half them expressing willingness to change providers within six months, if their existing operators did not offer the technology. According to a report, consumers were looking for new 5G-ready applications and services. Heightened expectations for high speed, low latency services has indeed, spread to all parts of the world.  

A change in Industry value is shifting operators toward vertical integration and network asset ownership. Mobile video traffic (OTT) is expected to grow 50% annually through 2020. This will account for 75% of all mobile data traffic. Emerging markets alone contribute to 59% of global smartphone shipments – creating more opportunities for operators in the emerging economies. 

While global economic instability continues to dominate front page news and threaten global growth prospects, 5G has provided new hope for the smartphone world. This year, 5G will propagate developments in the industry. An IDC report expects 5G shipments to reach 8.9% of smartphones shipped in 2020, accounting for 123.5 million devices shipped.