It’s For You…Over Half The World’s Population Now Use Mobile Phones

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Considering that it’s barely 25 years since the first mobile phone call, the growth of the cellular phone has been spectacular. If they seem ubiquitous, it’s probably because they are, a fact dramatically highlighted by a new UN report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The report reveals that 4.1 billion people around the world – half the global population – now have mobile phone subscriptions. That’s a sharp rise from the one billion reported in 2002, and represents about 60% of the world’s population.

The greatest growth has been in Africa, where figures have risen from 2% to 28%, but developing countries in general account for around 66% of all mobiles in use. Everywhere, mobiles have surged ahead, leaving landlines in the dust – figures for them have just risen from one billion to just under 1.3 billion in the last seven years.

The ITU said:

"The spread of mobile cellular services and technologies has made great strides towards connecting the previously unconnected."

The report also noted the swift rise in Internet use, growing from 11% globally in 2002 to 23% today, although there was a discrepancy between the developed and developing countries. Globally, fewer than 5% have fixed line broadband access at home, although in the developed countries that stands at 20%. In Africa it was 0.2%.

It remains to be seen whether mobile broadband can help bridge the digital divide, but the report remains hopeful:

"Despite the economic downturn, current global ICT developments are unlikely to change drastically, given the pervasive nature of information and communication technologies."