MNO Industry Overview


To understand the global MNO (mobile network operator) industry, including number of operators, revenue, employees, software spend, cybersecurity spend, SIM cards usage, and smartphones usage.

Early Findings

  • GSMA Intelligence states there are 1,400+ MNOs, as well as 1,200+ MVNOs, worldwide.
  • As of 2015, MNO revenues had topped $1 trillion.
  • A December 2018 report states the industry is growing at a CAGR of 40%.
  • GSMA Intelligence estimates 2025 MNO revenue to reach $1.1 trillion, up from $1.05 trillion in 2017.
  • DataReportal states that there are approximately 5.5 billion smartphones in the world, as of 2019.
  • An April 2018 article says the global SIM cards market has grown 2.75%, reaching 5.6 billion cards shipped in 2017, though data on how many are actively in use appears to be unavailable.
  • GSMA Intelligence notes there were 7.8 billion SIM connections, excluding cellular IoT, in 2017, and that figure is expected to reach 9 billion by 2025.
  • MNOs supported 29 million jobs in 2017 with 12 million of those working directly in the industry and another 17 million jobs indirectly supported.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
As the initial research provides a high-level overview of the available data on the MNO market, we recommend continuing the research to delve deeper into the remaining data sought. First, we would recommend researching global employment in the MNO industry in 2019 (as our initial research found 2017 data), which will likely require significant triangulation.
Next, we would recommend a deep dive into MNO industry's software and cybersecurity spending, both of which are likely to require significant triangulation.
Finally, we would recommend a deep dive into the worldwide use of SIM cards to better evaluate or estimate the current number of SIM cards in use in the market.