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Mobile subscriptions worldwide by region

Mobile broadband drives subscription growth across all regions.


Key findings

  • 37% of subscriptions in North America and 34% in North East Asia are expected to be for 5G in 2023
  • 90% of subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa will be for mobile broadband in 2023
  • With the exception of India, subscriptions for mobile broadband now make up 50% or more of total subscriptions in all regions

Mobile subscriptions by region and technology (percent)

The number of mobile subscriptions continues to grow across the regions, fueled by a strong uptake in mobile broadband.1 There are still large variations between regions. However, with the exception of India, subscriptions for mobile broadband now make up 50 percent or more of total subscriptions in all regions. Globally, the most common way to access the internet is over a mobile network.

By the end of 2023, the Middle East and Africa region will transform from a situation where half of all mobile subscriptions are GSM/EDGE-only, to one where 90 percent of subscriptions are for mobile broadband. Driving factors for this growth include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills, as well as more affordable smartphones.


37% of subscriptions in North America are expected to be for 5G in 2023

In North East Asia, 5G is expected to be deployed early in South Korea, Japan and China. For the region as a whole, 5G subscription penetration is expected to reach 34 percent by the end of the forecast period.

North America currently has the highest penetration of LTE subscriptions at close to 80 percent. The region will also lead 5G uptake, with major operators stating their intentions to deploy 5G early. 5G subscriptions are expected to account for 37 percent of all mobile subscriptions in the region by the end of 2023.

Western Europe is expected to evolve more slowly, with 5G making up 16 percent of mobile subscriptions at the end of the period.

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

Note: WCDMA without HSPA and GPRS/EDGE (2G) are not included