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Mobile usage reaches 5bn milestone

05 июля 2010

The five-billionth mobile phone will be connected this weekend, analysts predict – a milestone achieved through rapid economic development in China and India and the proliferation of people owning second devices in North America and western Europe.

According to The Mobile World, an analyst group, 168m net new mobile phones were connected globally in the first quarter of this year, taking the total to 4.82bn.

Current growth rates in developing markets mean the total is set to surpass 5bn – or about 73 per cent of the world’s population – in the first week of July.

“It’s a pretty short-odds bet that today or maybe tomorrow, Mr 5bn will be connected, and he’s almost certainly an Indian,” John Tysoe, analyst at The Mobile World, told the Financial Times on Friday.

The estimate is largely based on figures from quoted companies in the period to the end of March, combined with projections based on past growth rates in markets that do not declare subscriber data.

India and China together added 50m new subscribers in April and May, making up 28 per cent of the world’s mobile connections in March, according to The Mobile World. The two countries accounted for more than half of all new subscribers in the first quarter, while the G7 nations took up just 4.6 per cent, a majority of which was from the US.

The competitive domestic market in India means call costs are falling rapidly. At 34m, Indian landlines are far outnumbered by the 500m mobile connections.

“What they are finding is it’s an economic wealth generator,” Mr Tysoe said. “It’s flipped from being a luxury to a necessity. That dynamic is also working in Africa.”

Developing markets are also indirectly benefiting from the smartphone wars in the US and Europe. Global handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola, who have lost share at the top end of the market to devices such as Apple’s iPhone, are looking to high-volume, lower-cost growth in Asia and Africa.

But far less than three-quarters of the world’s 6.8bn people own a mobile phone. About a quarter of the 5bn total will be people owning duplicate devices, such as a regular handset and a BlackBerry or iPad, or using more than one SIM card to save money on calls.

Mr Tysoe predicts that there will be one mobile connection for every person on the planet during 2014, even if the devices are unevenly distributed.

Mobile usage reached half the world’s population, at 3.3bn connections, in Nov-ember 2007, according to Informa, an analyst group.

Источник: Financial Times

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