Prepaid mobile plan usage: 88% in India, 2% in Korea

Nielsen has analyzed how mobile users around the world pay for their mobile usage. With billions of mobile users around the world (of which about 800m from India alone!) research companies are busy analyzing many aspects of mobile users (data plans, number of mobile handsets, prepaid vs postpaid, smartphone vs feature phone).

Users pay in advance (prepaid) or post the usage every month (postpaid). In countries like US the mobile carriers subsidize the cost of the handsets (smartphones) in exchange for a few years of contract from the mobile users.

In India for a very long time, in all probability from the beginning, prepaid has been the most popular method of paying for the mobile usage.

The following graph says all – the numbers of Korea are very surprising though. And it must be South Korea as there is no way of getting any numbers out of North Korea (which is headed by apparently the sexist man alive).  Any idea why such a low percentage of mobile users in Korea prefer postpaid? Don’t they have innumerable options like in India to prepay?

Prepaid mobile users in the world. Source: Nielsen

Prepaid mobile users in the world. Source: Nielsen

From this graph we also see feature phone is used more than a smartphone amongst prepaid mobile users. The gap in countries like Australia and UK is surprising or rather news to most of us.

As of Nov 2012 India had about 900 million mobile connections (not mobile users), of which only 600 million (postpaid + prepaid) were active. 75% of prepaid connections are from Urban India of which only 2% recharge online. Huge opportunity out there for mobile recharge portals in India.

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