The EMEA mobile phone market is very interesting, with EU almost saturated, reporting a declining 11% growth rate in volume in 2006, but where the high-end market (smartphone and convergence) will drive the growth, and with booming CEMA (Central Europe, Middle East and Africa) market that could account for 50% of the EMEA market by 2010. In CEMA, IDC predicts the drivers for growth are the CIS minus Russia, and poorer countries in Middle East and Africa (Nigeria, ...), and entry-level handsets are there the key segment.
In the MEA market (Middle East and Africa), there were about 245m subscribers as of Sept. 06, of which 45% are managed by 10 local largest operators. These top 10 operators reported a growth rate of nearly 40%, with all other operators reporting an average growth rate of 58% to reach 135m users as of Sept. 06.
Vodacom (S. Africa) is by far the largest operator in the region with some 20m subscribers, followed by STC (Saudi Arabia) with 13m subscribers and MTN (S. Africa) with 11m users. Then ItissalatAl-Mahgrib (Maroc), MTN Nigeria, TCI (Iran), Orascom Algeria are all above 10m users, followed by Globacom (Nigeria) with 9.5m, Mobinil (Egypt) and Vodafone Egypt with about 8m each.