Poor people driving growth of cellphone industry

Six out of every ten people in the world now own a mobile phone. According to a UN report, cell phones are the communications technology of choice, particularly in poorer countries.
In 2002 there were 1 billion cell phone subscriptions worldwide. That figure has quadrupled with 4.1 billion subscriptions counted at the end of 2008.

Shanghai Daily reports:

“There has been a clear shift to mobile cellular telephony,” the agency said, noting that developing countries now account for about two-thirds of cell phones in use.

In 2002, less than half of mobile phone subscriptions were in the developing world. Today in Africa, 28 per cent of the population has a cellular subscription according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Worldwide, there are three times as many cell phone subscriptions than landline ones. In some Asian and European countries, people have more than one contract each, pushing for an almost 100 per cent user coverage.

The Independent reports:

Fixed Internet access in developing countries is still limited, and, where available, often slow and/or expensive,” it said in the report that ranked countries’ information and communication technologies (ICT) as of 2007, the last year for which figures were available.

Fixed phone lines have only grown from 1 billion to 1.27 billion in the same time period.

As for the Internet, 23 per cent of people on the planet logged in last year compared to just 11 per cent in 2002. Poorer countries still lag behind when it comes to Internet access. In Africa, only 1 in 20 people had fast Internet access in their homes.

Sweden comes in first with the most citizens using communications technology with South Korea just behind despite the standard low per capita income. Denmark came third, ahead of the Netherlands, Iceland and Norway. Surprisingly neither Canada nor the United States were in the top ten of the ICT Development Index 2007 rating (2002 Ranking).


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