A UN agency report has revealed that by next year, there will be more mobile phone subscriptions than there are people on the planet.
Right now, there are 6.8 billion mobile phone subscriptions on the planet, and around 7.1 billion people. The international Telecoms Union is predicting that the number of subscriptions will pass the 7 billion mark in 2014. This doesn’t necessarily mean every person on earth will have a mobile phone; the distribution is quite uneven. The ITU has reported that the Commonwealth of Independent States, which used to be part of the Soviet Union, has the highest mobile penetration, with an average of 1.7 subscriptions per person. Africa has the lowest, with 0.6 subscriptions per person. Some nations, like India, have also seen a reduction in mobile subscription growth.
That's a lot of phones!
Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau had the following to say: "Every day we are moving closer to having almost as many mobile cellular subscriptions as people on earth. [—]The mobile revolution is 'm-powering' people in developing countries by delivering ICT applications in education, health, government, banking, environment and business."
The ITU also released statistics indicating that now, 2.7 billion people, some 40% of the world’s population, now has internet access. Of those, the highest internet penetration is in Europe, where 75% of the population has internet. The Americas comes second with 62%. 32% of Asia’s population has internet, but Africa only has 16% access. ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Toure said more needs to be done: "Two-thirds of the world's population, some 4.5 billion people, is still offline. This means that two-thirds of the world's people are still locked out of the world's biggest market."