Its Official… There are Now More Phone Numbers than People
In a world with an estimated 7.2 billion people, the number of mobile connections has just overtaken earth’s human population. There are now more mobile phone numbers than people to use them, around 7.24 billion and counting. In just three decades the mobile phone has risen from an executive’s plaything to a universal personal accessory like no other.
From zero to over 7 billion in just 30 years. It is the most widely used and popular piece of modern technology ever. Nothing else in history, not television, desktop computers, or even the Internet has made such an impact on people from across the globe. Now there’s something to think about.
Breaking Down the Figures
GSMA Intelligence monitors mobile connection data in real-time from every country on the planet, and have just released their latest findings on the growth of mobile connections. The 7.24 billion number is for actual sim cards, so unique mobile connections, not for actual mobile devices, so despite wanting to believe that everyone and their dog has a mobile phone that’s not the case.
Factoring in the data for unique mobile subscribers, which is around 3.6 billion, and we see that the extra mobile connections are most likely to be the result of one person having two or more sim cards. With so many different mobile devices available, like smartphones, tablets and gaming devices, extra sim cards are needed for each one. Amazingly, mobile connections are increasing at a rate 5 times faster that the human population.
Well, this is where things get even more interesting because half of the world’s population still don’t own a personal cell phone. Half the world. In Africa the penetration of mobile phones is low, where mobile connections number just over 6 for every 10 people. Some countries fare much worse than others, and the developing world is still catching up with developed countries.
In Ethiopia there were just 22 mobile connections for every 100 people at the end of 2013. As for the lowest, well if you’re from North Korea you’re most unlikely to own a mobile phone, with just 8 people out of 100 owning a device according to data collected in April 2013. So, there is still much work to be done in making mobile technology accessible to everyone in the world.
Transforming the World
For those people old enough to remember what life was like without mobile phones it must be even more apparent how this piece of technology has gripped the globe. For those of us that have lived with mobile phones our entire lives, imagining a world without them would seem strange. These latest statistics just go to show how wholeheartedly people from across the world, of different ages, cultures, class, religions and races can be joined together by just one thing. It’s inspiring.