Emerging markets among the most penetrated

In 2006, Middle Eastern nation Bahrain became the world’s most penetrated country, ending the year with a 139.6 per cent penetration rate that was driven by a 22.6 per cent annual increase in the number of mobile subscribers, according to Global Mobile’s latest survey of global wireless users. Global Mobile  is a sister publication of

Eight of the 15 most penetrated countries at end-2006 were in emerging markets, which illustrates the extent of diversity in the expansion of mobile in these developing regions.

In 2006, the Macau Special Administrative Region of China became the most penetrated of populated areas in the world that have their own administration and legislature. Macau had 145.47 per cent penetration at year-end.

Luxembourg was the most penetrated country in the “developed regions,” with a rate of 137.9 per cent at end-2006.

Expansion in the Italian market in 2006 shows that subscriber growth is strong even in countries that have passed the theoretical limit of 100 per cent penetration. Italian operators increased their combined subs base a healthy 12.28 per cent in 2006, and the nation had 134.47 per cent penetration at year-end.

The top-15 list excludes anomalous markets – such as the Turks&Caicos Islands – in which a large portion of the population is composed of temporary residents.


Top 15 countries by penetration, 4Q06
Rank* Country Yearly change (%) Penetration (%)
1 Macau 24.24 145.47
2 Bahrain 22.57 139.63
3 Luxembourg 7.09 137.92
4 Italy 12.28 134.47
5 Lithuania 10.92 131.76
6 UAE 22.22 130.02
7 Israel 7.06 129.87
8 Czech Republic 7.51 121.39
9 Greece 10.83 120.93
10 Estonia 10.72 119.28
11 Sweden 5.77 116.07
12 UK 7.94 115.85
13 Austria 10.00 115.73
14 Spain 9.33 114.41
15 Hong Kong 6.19 114.17 
*Excludes the following tourist destinations: Antigua&Barbuda, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Grenada&Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad&Tobago and Turks&Caicos Islands. Source: Informa Telecoms&Media

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