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Mobile subscriptions Q1 2019

The total number of mobile subscriptions was around 7.9 billion in Q1 2019, with 44 million new subscriptions added during the quarter.

Key findings

  • Mobile subscriptions worldwide totalled around 7.9 billion in Q1 2019, with 44 million new subscriptions added.
  • Mobile broadband subscriptions grew to 6 billion, with 140 million new subscriptions in Q1 2019.
  • LTE subscriptions hit 3.7 billion, with 160 million new subscriptions in the same quarter.

The number of mobile subscriptions grew at 2 percent year-on-year and currently totals around 7.9 billion. China had the most net additions during the quarter (+30 million), followed by Nigeria (+5 million) and the Philippines (+4 million). The high subscription growth in China continues from last year, and is likely the result of intense competition among communications service providers in the country. In India, the number of subscriptions declined by 14 million. This was mainly due to the introduction of a minimum regular recharge amount by some large operators, to tackle low-paying users and increase average revenue per user (ARPU).

The number of mobile broadband subscriptions1 grew at 15 percent year-on-year, increasing by 140 million in Q1 2019. The total is now 6 billion, equaling 76 percent of mobile subscriptions. The number of LTE subscriptions increased by 160 million during the quarter to reach a total of 3.7 billion, and 47 percent of all mobile subscriptions are now for LTE. The net addition for WCDMA/HSPA was around 20 million subscriptions.

GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions declined by 80 million. Other technologies2 declined by around 30 million.

Subscriptions associated with smartphones account for more than 60 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions. The number of mobile subscriptions exceeds the population in many countries, which is largely due to inactive subscriptions, multiple device ownership or optimization of subscriptions for different types of calls. As a result, the number of mobile subscribers is lower than the number of mobile subscriptions. Today, there are around 5.7 billion subscribers globally compared to 7.9 billion subscriptions. Global mobile subscription penetration is now at 104 percent.

Subscription penetration Q1 2019 (percent of population)
Total and new mobile subscriptions Q1 2019 (million)
Top countries by net additions Q1 2019
There are now 6 billion mobile broadband subscriptions.
Global subscription penetration is at 104 percent in Q1 2019.
47 percent of all mobile subscriptions are now for LTE.

1 Mobile broadband includes radio access technologies HSPA (3G), LTE (4G), 5G, CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and Mobile WiMAX

2 Mainly CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and Mobile WiMAX

* India region includes India, Nepal and Bhutan

** Excluding China and India