Mobiles ‘to outnumber people next year’, says UN agency

mobile phones

Next year, the International Telecoms Union, predicts that mobile subscriptions will outnumber the people living on this planet. There are currently 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions and 7.1 billion people. It is expected that subscriptions will pass the seven billion mark early in 2014.

“Every day we are moving closer to having almost as many mobile cellular subscriptions as people on earth,” said Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau.

“The mobile revolution is ‘m-powering’ people in developing countries by delivering ICT applications in education, health, government, banking, environment and business.”

The ITU World in 2013 report also found that more than a third of the global population are online. The alliance of countries formerly in the Soviet Union, called the Commonwealth of Independent States, has the highest mobile penetration with 1.7 subscriptions for every person. Africa has the least, with 63 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

There are some concerns that the mobile market is getting overly saturated. This is a particularly big worry for Nokia, who has seen feature phone sales drop in the last quarter. The report found that in some countries, such as India, mobile growth is slowing. However, the ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Toure said that more needed to be done, as “Two-thirds of the world’s population, some 4.5 billion people, are still offline… This means that two-thirds of the world’s people are still locked out of the world’s biggest market.”

The report also found that 2.7 billion people, almost 40% of the world’s population, are online. Europe has the highest penetration (75%), followed by the Americas (61%). Asia has 32% of its population online, and Africa 16%.


International Telecoms Union

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