A study released by the International Telecommunication Union yesterday showed the world has about six billion mobile phone subscriptions — one billion are in China, another billion are in India.
We’re rapidly approaching a time when we can say there are as many cell phones on earth as there are people. The world’s population is pegged at about seven billion today.
In West African countries like Senegal, mobile phones are easy to get, while waiting lists for an old-fashioned, hard-wired telephone in your home can extend for years. No surprise that most residents don’t bother to install a land line — why bother waiting for someone to run a wire to their town or village when they can get a pre-paid mobile phone today?
For developing nations, the mobile phone is also the gateway to the Internet. The study also noted there are now more than twice as many mobile broadband subscriptions as there are fixed broadband subscriptions. It’s easy to look at this study and the growth trajectory and see a future where most people are accessing the Internet via mobile broadband technology and in languages other than English. Organizations are already designing and building web sites to be effective mobile or tablet sites first, instead of starting with the desktop user in mind. We’ll undoubtedly be seeing more of that in the future.
Read more in the ITU’s Measuring the Information Society 2012 report.