Mobile penetration soars past 100% in 97 countries

Posted In Mobile Stats, Mobile Web - By Ryan On Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 With 0 Comments

Mobile penetration soars past 100% in 97 countries

Finally, the stats that back up what we’ve all been feeling and seeing in the mobile industry in the last couple of years are in: access to mobile handsets over the first decade of the 21st century has been astronomical. Some of the numbers, when taken against the backdrop of poverty in developing countries, are pretty profound.

Consider, for instance, that more than 2.6 billion people were living without access to toilets at the end of 2010, while 4 billion mobile subscriptions existed in the same period. So more people had cell phone subscriptions than toilets. Think about what that says about modern day society and the barriers being broken down by the technological march.

In 2002, there were just two countries with a mobile penetration rate of over 100%. By late 2010, this rapid access to mobile had spread to 97 countries – 17 of which had penetration rates of more than 150%. When looking at the developing world as a whole, penetration had reached 70% by the end of last year, a mere six years after the developed world reached the 70% mark.

Penetration in Africa specifically was sitting at 45.2% in 2010, higher than the 42.8% penetration in the Americas in 2004 (their rate has since grown to 94.5%). Asia and the Pacific came in at 69.2%, higher than Europe’s penetration rate of 67% in 2002 (now sitting at 117%).

In December 2010, while 833 million people were living in some of the poorest conditions in the 49 least developed countries (as designated by the United Nations), there was still an increase in mobile phone usage between 2000 and the end of the decade. Mobile subscriptions grew from 2 million to 280 million (representing a penetration rate of 34%), with almost 66% of people in these regions having mobile coverage.

With millions of people overcoming all kinds of obstacles to make use of mobile tech, there seems to be very little that will stand in the way of our civilisation moving towards exponential mobile expansion, with many communities leapfrogging desktop computer adoption entirely to do so.

Data and analysis drawn from the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database.

About - With at least 20 phones tucked away in drawers around the house and office, Ryan is a buy-to-try mobile consumer and loves playing with new handsets. Right now he's stuck on the iPhone 4.

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