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The World's Largest Telecom Providers

A interactive look at which cell phone companies have the largest subscriber base.

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The World's Largest Telecom Providers

If you think AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are huge companies, you should check out the size of telecom providers in the rest of the world. Some of these companies, such as those providing service to residents of Mexico, the United Kingdom and China, dwarf the biggest telecom providers in the United States.

In the United States, some of the biggest telecom providers include AT&T Mobile with its 66 million subscribers and Verizon Wireless with 64 million subscribers. Sprint/Nextel boasts 54 million.

These are certainly big numbers. But they pale when compared to the subscriber numbers put up by telecom providers in other parts of the world.

China Mobile, not surprisingly, leads the way with an amazing 350 million subscribers. Next comes Vodafone in the United Kingdom with its impressive collection of 206 million subscribers. China Unicom, also in China, comes in with 156 million more subscribers.

In Spain, Telefonica/Movistar/02 has 155 million subscribers, while Germany's T-Mobile has an impressive 156 million subscribers.

If these numbers don't prove how important cell phones have become to consumers not only in the United States but in the rest of the world, nothing will. In fact, a growing number of consumers, both nationally and internationally are giving up their landlines and relying only on mobile phones for both their business and personal use.

A big part of the reason is convenience, of course. You can take your mobile with you wherever you go. Then there's improved technology: You can make cell phone calls from just about anywhere in the United States these days. And today's smartphones aren't just phones at all. They come with Web-browsing capabilities, impressive cameras and diverse music players.

You might be annoyed at all the commercials you see for AT&T Mobile and Verizon Wireless in the United States. Seems as if they pop up every time your favorite TV show goes to break. But these worldwide numbers show just why these companies spend so much on advertising. Mobile phones are a huge business today. There are lots of dollars to be made in the industry. It makes sense that companies would shill their services as often and as loudly as possible.

You simply can't fight it. The numbers, from all over the world, prove it: It's a mobile world today. And that's not going to change anytime soon, no matter how tired you get of listening to the guy on the train jabbering away with his fiancée on the ride home from work each night.