Global Cell Phone Use in 2012
Since the beginning of their existence, cell phones have been on the rise. It seems that the world has gone cell phone crazy, whether it be for the new iPhone, or new calling plans. Cell phones are a tool of modern technology that connect the world together, and provide easy communication for everyone who wants it and can afford it.
Cell Phone Subscriptions
According to the International Telecommunication Union, as of 2012 there were 6 billion cell phone subscriptions. This is a large increase from the numbers of subscriptions of 2011, with 5.4 billion. 4.5 billion of these subscriptions are in developing countries, meaning that 76% of global cell phone subscriptions are accounted for in the developing world. Africa is the region with the lowest number of cell phone subscribers, with 53% of the population of Africa having mobile subscriptions.
Cell Phone Users
It is important to note that the number of subscriptions is not the same as the number of people who are subscribed, as some people have more than one subscription. In fact, Wireless Intelligence estimates that as of 2012, there are 3.2 billion mobile phone users, which is only about 45% of the world population.
Top Countries with Cell Phone Subscriptions
In data compiled by mobiThinking, China, which is the country with the most subscriptions, accounts for over 1 billion of the global number of cell phone subscriptions. This equates to around 81% of the population of china. India has the second highest number of subscriptions with around 900 million, or 73.1% of the population of India. Finally, coming in third, is the United States, with around 322 million cell phone subscriptions. This equates to around 103% of the population meaning that there are more cell phone subscriptions than there are people in the USA.
A large portion of cell phone users have 3G or 4G subscriptions. There are around 1.6 billion people in the world who had access to a 3G or 4G network as of 2012. This is around 23% of the population of the world who are constantly connected to the internet. Surprisingly, it was the United States who has the most people subscribed to a 3G or 4G network with 256 million subscribers. China came in second with 212 million 3G or 4G users, and Japan came in third with a total of around 104 million 3G or 4G users.
Cell Phone Handsets
As far as cell phone handsets go, according to Gartner Research, Nokia is by far the best selling handset company with 23.8 of the market share, and 422.4 million handset shipments in 2011. Samsung comes in at second with 17.7% of the market share and 313.9 million handset shipments, and Apple comes in at third with 5% of the market share or 89.2 million shipments.
It is apparent that cell phones are not only here to stay, but they are going to continue to grow over time. More and more people are going to use cell phones and particularly in developing countries a larger percentage of the population will own cell phones as they become cheaper. In fact, Ericsson estimates that by 2018, there will be 9.3 billion cell phone subscriptions, meaning a very large portion of people will have multiple cell phone subscriptions. Regardless, we are sure to see a monumental increase in cell phone usage over the next 5-10 years.
This article was composed by Paul Nickerson, a freelance tech writer based in the greater Kansas City area. He often writes on website development, internet browsing, gadgetry and other prominent technology topics; in addition to design services he also takes an interest in the trade show flooring offered by NWCI.