Who here knows one individual that still doesn’t own a mobile phone? Anyone? Anyone at all? Well, me neither. I mean, my dad has one, my mom has two (yep, she’s a tech freak), even my ten year old nephew has one.

Mobile technology has definitely crossed any age, education or social status boundaries, and if there was anyone who doubted that, the latest International Telecommunications Union’s report should clarify things once and for all. According to the U.N.’s telecommunications agency, the seven billion people living in today’s world have purchased six billion cellphone subscriptions by the end of 2011. That comes to an average of one subscription per 0.85 people, which is remarkable.

Of course, we are dealing with subscriptions here and not subscribers, and we know very well that there are a lot of people owning multiple phones (my mom included). Still, the six billion number is stunning. The highest number of subscriptions by country comes from China (around 1 billion), while India is close second in this race, and also expected to cross the 1 billion mark in 2012 (if that hasn’t already happened).

Other impressive numbers show the incredible growth of mobile-broadband services (40% over the past year globally, and 78% in developing countries), while South Korea is the world’s most advanced ICT (information and communications technology) economy.

Meanwhile, almost one third of the world’s population, or over two billion people, were Internet users as of the end of 2011, another statistic that shows major growth. Still, the discrepancy between developed countries and developing regions remains high (70% of the former population was online, compared to only 24% from the latter).

I don’t know about you, but I keep getting wowed every time I hear about such numbers. I mean, to only think that a decade ago owning a cell phone was still considered a luxury… We’ve really come a long way, haven’t we?

  • The only thing disappointing about these numbers is that most of these are featurephones and do not access the Internet. But there is hope on the horizon, Android is becoming cheaper and cheaper (MediaTek) and Apple is coming around to the thought of phones for the emerging markets.

    • Kassim

      “Apple is coming around to the thought of phones for the emerging markets.”

      Really?! o.O With their prices as they are now? How? (genuine inquiry…seriously)

      Was there an Apple announcement/comment which eluded to them going down this direction? Is there a cut down ‘iPhone Mini’ coming out or something? Or is it because these markets want more luxury goods to further increase their status and can now afford it since their economies aren’t as crippled/skewed/up-the-crapper as the developed markets?