Global mobile industry growth is slowing, even if it is accelerating in some regions, and even if new subscribers and mobile data will underpin that growth for a while. TeleGeography predicts 2.4 percent compound annual growth in mobile customers globally between 2015 and 2021.

The largest increases will be seen in Africa, where user numbers are expected to rise nearly five percent by 2021. Subscriber totals in the Middle East will also grow above the global average, with rises of around 2.8 percent.

Telegeography is predicting 8.28 billion cellular subscribers worldwide by the end of 2021, excluding machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.

A number of large markets still have room for substantial growth in Africa. Among countries with more than 10 million people, 12 had penetration rates below 60% at mid-2016 (the largest being Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each with populations greater than 80 million).

Substantial growth will also come from India – home to 1.3 billion people – where wireless penetration was under 80% at mid-2016.