The number of mobile phone owners around the globe has increased drastically. All regions around the globe are getting access tointernet and mobile phones. According to World Bank data, in developing regions like sub-Saharan Africa, more than 60% of the population have mobile phones. Today, mobile phones are affordable, easy to use, and provide several benefits with minimum requirement of any expertise to handle the device. The capability of mobile phones to provide diverse interactive activities including text messaging, calling,mobile apps, and web browsing have made them highly popular. Not only simple mobile phones but smartphones have also witnessed strong penetration around the globe. More than half of the global population own smartphones today. Smartphone owners are spending more and more time on their device for social networking and calling purposes. This in turn has given a boost to prepaid wireless service across the globe. Moreover, with cheaper voice and data plans available, mobile owners are opting for prepaid services over postpaid.
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Mobile owners are opting for prepaid wireless services over postpaid and contract based services due to affordability and flexibility to switch operators. Moreover, millennials and senior population around the globe prefer prepaid services more, which in turn have made prepaid services highly popular in regions like North America and Europe. Internet users are another major factor that has given a push to the market. Active internet users around the globe have gained momentum in recent years which has increased the demand for affordable data plans.Growing dependency on mobile phonesto organize work and personal data is also driving the market. Additionally, opportunity for further smartphone penetration in developing regionssuch as Asia, Africa, and the MiddleEast is anticipated to propel the prepaid wireless servicemarket.
Globally, the prepaid wireless service market is segmented based on connectivity and type. In terms of connectivity, the market is segmented into 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity. Based on type, the market is segregated into data and voice. In terms of connectivity, 4G occupies the largest share of more than 50% in the overall prepaid wireless service market. Demand for 2G connectivity has drastically fallen over a period of time largely due to rollout of 4G/LTE connectivity which is much faster. Moreover, TMR believes that after the commercial roll out of 5G services, 3G connectivity services will also start losing its market. The year-on-year growth in 3G connectivity services have become stable and will start declining from the initial months of 2019. As and when large populations around the globe become active users of internet, the demand for affordable and fast data plans will increase, which in turn will increase the demand for 4G, 4.5G, and 5G connectivity services.
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In terms of type, voice occupies the largest share in the market. However, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of data is expected to be higher than voce during the forecastperiod. The reason for the same is behavioral shift among individuals. Today, people are spending significant amount of time on their smartphone, using it to complete all kinds of crucial work, right from socializing to financial transactions. This is therefore creating demand for internet data plans.
Based on region, the global prepaid wireless service market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America. AsiaPacific dominates the market, followed by Europe and North America. In North America, mobile owners are shifting from contract based services to prepaid services in the last few years.However, the share of postpaid wireless service is still higher than prepaid wireless service, when compared with other regions such as AsiaPacific and the Middle East and Africa. The largest market for prepaid wireless service is Asia Pacific largely due to the population size and people’s preference for prepaid services over postpaid services. Europe is the second largest market (in terms of revenue) for prepaid wireless services. The prepaid wireless services market received a further boost with the popularity of the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) model in Europe. These MVNOs provide attractive voice and data plans at affordable rates, thus creating demand for prepaid wireless services specifically in developing countries.
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Key players operating in this market adopt strategies such as product innovation, strategic alliances, partnerships, and acquisitions. The prepaid wireless service market is rather competitive; however, it is dominated by a few key players.Some of the major players in the global prepaid wireless service market include AT&T Inc., Sprint Corporation, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile International AG, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Group plc, Orange S.A., Telefónica, S.A., Telstra Corporation Ltd., Telenor ASA, Emirates Telecommunication Group, Axiata Group, Bharti Airtel Limited, China Mobile Communications Corporation and AméricaMóvil.
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