Visualizing Global Telecom Markets

Warning: This requires Flash.

Try the following settings:

  • Set y-axis to Mobile Cellular Subscriptions per 100 Inhabitants
  • Set x-axis to Fixed broadband per 100.
  • Size: Inhabitants. (Scroll within gadget to see Size selector).
  • Hit play.
  • Discuss

Click here for a larger version.

  • Luis Alejandro Masanti

    Is it correct?
    Why almost all “dots” are over the left? 

    • Press the play button or move the slider under the year.

    • Anonymous

      Make sure you choose a “Per 100 Inhabitants” measure on both axes. The default (at least when I opened the page) showed just “Mobile Cellular Subscriptions” which is a total number and not very meaningful.

  • Your example would be even more dramatic if there were a way to force the ticks on the x and y axes to occur at the same spots.  I.e., x and y are scaled differently at present. 

    • Indeed. The scale is set to the maximum for the data set. I could force it with a false data point but that would be kludgey and wrong.

  • It’s interesting how many go above 100 per 100 inhabitants, especially in larger countries like Brazil and Russia.  The BRICs certainly are ones to watch for sheer size and the behavior of the population (multiple subscriptions per inhabitant as noted in Brazil and Russia). 

    And then there’s Lichtenstein… 

  • Simon

    I believe there’s something wrong in your Australian data set: I can’t imagine that everybody got off the ‘net in 2007 down there.

    • There is missing data. I’ve tried interpolating some but there are about 20,000 data points so some will be missed.

  • Pretty interesting Horace. Have you seen Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats?

    Looks similar to your charting method.

    • Anonymous

      That’s because it *is* Rosling’s system [bought by Google] 🙂

    • Yes I have. The tools I use were developed by Rosling and sold to Google and are now part of Google Docs.

  • Anonymous

    Nice work Horace. the power of conveying info via a quick visual animation is impressive.

  • Oakustic

    If you change the Size variable from Fixed Telephone Lines (as Horace has it in the chart) to Inhabitants (as Horace suggests in the text), the simulation runs for an extra year of data, 2010.

    • I’ve reset the defaults to open as the text suggests.

  • Tim F.

    Mobile internet is more individual; sometimes each individual even has multiple mobile devices. Fixed broadband tends to be shared: households, businesses, neighborhoods.

    Certainly mobile has far exceeded “traditional” internet; in many cases, the first and primary access to the internet is mobile.

    But I don’t think the value of fixed broadband via wifi should be overlooked. It is a very important piece and provides an avenue for disintermediating, or at least some form of alternative to, the mobile carriers.

  • Tim F.

    It’s also noteworthy to run mobile subs against internet users (per 100). The large majority remain in the lower half of internet usage despite a fair number having 100+ per 100 mobile phones. Internet usage is a far better indicator of whether or not people are “fully employing” the mobile devices. There is still enormous room for growth even in nations where the “mobile explosion” already occurred. If the barriers to mobile broadband can be surmounted, that is.

  • Thomas

    Interesting to see how Vietnam is frogleaping! Is that the “next china?”

  • Anonymous

    The full page version isn’t working for me using Chrome on Mac, it’s showing a load of text over the control

    google.visualization.Query.setResponse({“version”:”0 …

  • Noah Berlove

    I don’t know if anyone else is having this problem, but since you added this, Safari on my iPad crashes whenever I go to your site. 

  • Laurent Giroud

    I was surprised to realize that developing countries have a clear “preference” for mobile but I guess that makes sense since building an infrastructure capable of supporting mobile devices requires lower initial capital expenses than for broadband. I wonder though if these markets will provide enough profits to incite companies to expand the network to support the higher data rates that smartphones have come to rely upon?Given the generally low income of the huge majority of consumers in these markets I also wonder if they can bring enough profits to make subsidizing of smartphones a worthwile practice?Some of these countries are highly populated which might make it interesting to invest in order to serve the – small – fraction of their population which has the means to buy smartphones and the associated data plans, but it seems unlikely that this can be extended to the rest of the population without first a significant increase of GDP per capita.