Chapter 1


Harry Holma and Antti Toskala

1.1 Mobile Voice Subscriber Growth

The number of mobile subscribers increased tremendously from 2000 to 2010. The first billion landmark was passed in 2002, the second billion in 2005, the third billion 2007, the fourth billion by the end of 2008 and the fifth billion in the middle of 2010. More than a million new subscribers per day have been added globally—that is more than ten subscribers on average every second. This growth is illustrated in Figure 1.1. Worldwide mobile phone penetration is 75%1. Voice communication has become mobile in a massive way and the mobile is the preferred method of voice communication, with mobile networks covering over 90% of the world's population. This growth has been fueled by low-cost mobile phones and efficient network coverage and capacity, which is enabled by standardized solutions, and by an open ecosystem leading to economies of scale. Mobile voice is not the privilege of the rich; it has become affordable for users with a very low income.

Figure 1.1 Growth of mobile subscribers


1.2 Mobile Data Usage Growth

Second-generation mobile networks—like the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)—were originally designed to carry voice traffic; data capability was added later. Data use has increased but the traffic volume in second-generation networks is clearly dominated by voice traffic. ...

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