Mobile Snapshot

The Worldwatch Institute has released a report on global growth in the mobile phone market.
Mobile Snapshot

• In 2013, more than 3.4 billion people—nearly half the world’s population—owned at least one mobile phone.

• The number of active mobile phone subscriptions has grown from 1 billion in 2000 to more than 6.8 billion at the end of 2013—twice the number of mobile phone owners.

• The number of mobile subscriptions is expected to surpass the number of people in the world in early 2014, according to the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.

• Mobile phone users added 424 million new subscriptions in 2013, 250 million fewer than in 2010, indicating that growth in this market is slowing.

• Industrial countries average 128 subscriptions per 100 people.

• Developing countries average 89 subscriptions per 100 people, although that average should surpass 100 per 100 people in 2014.

The report predicts that the next focus for the mobile phone industry will be not on growth, but on improving service. That includes upgrading second-generation (2G) technologies in the developing world and addressing environmental and health concerns that arise from improper recycling and disposal of obsolete devices.