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Mobile subscriptions worldwide Q3 2017

In Q3, 95 million new mobile subscriptions were added, resulting in a total of 7.8 billion.

Key findings

  • There are 5 billion mobile broadband subscriptions
  • LTE continues to grow rapidly – 170 million subscriptions were added in Q3 2017
  • There are 5.3 billion unique mobile subscribers globally 
  • 95 million new mobile subscriptions were added globally in Q3 2017

The number of mobile subscriptions is growing at almost 6 percent year-on-year, reaching 7.8 billion in Q3. China had the most net additions during the quarter (+30 million), followed by Indonesia (+7 million), the US (+4 million), Angola (+4 million) and Pakistan (+3 million).

The number of mobile broadband subscriptions1 is growing at around 20 percent year-on-year, increasing by 210 million in Q3 2017 alone. The total number is now 5 billion.

During Q3 2017, 170 million LTE subscriptions were added to reach a total of 2.5 billion. The net additions for WCDMA/HSPA were around 60 million subscriptions during the quarter. The majority of 3G/4G subscriptions can use GSM/EDGE as a fallback.

There are now 5 billion mobile broadband subscriptions

Over the same period, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions declined by 130 million. Other technologies declined by around 5 million.

Subscriptions associated with smartphones now account for 57 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions. Around 400 million smartphones were sold in Q3, which equates to 83 percent of all mobile phones sold in the quarter.

Mobile subscriptions Q3 2017 (millions)
New mobile subscriptions Q3 2017
Top 5 countries by net additions Q3 2017

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 subscribers is lower than the number of subscriptions. Today, there are around 5.3 billion subscribers globally compared to 7.8 billion subscriptions.

5.3 billion subscribers

Subscription penetration Q3 2017 (percent of population)

103% global subscription penetration in Q3 2017

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