If data from the GSMA, which represents the global mobile phone industry, is correct, there is a very good chance there are now more mobile phones in the world than people. At the time of writing, the GSMA’s real-time tracker is about to reach 7.230 billion mobile connections, while the United States Census has the worldwide population at 7.197 billion.
While this astonishing statistic highlights the impact mobile telephony has had on the globe, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The GSMA measures the amount of mobile connections, and although we can assume most of those are attached to a single mobile device, dual-SIM (and even triple-SIM) devices are popular in many developing markets.
We should also take into account that anything from a tablet to a smartwatch, and even some portable games consoles have a SIM slot today, and may be responsible for a percentage of these connections. The data is also confusing, because it’s not one mobile phone for every person on the planet. It’s estimated half of the population doesn’t own a phone.
These things aside, it’s proof we adore our phones.
The dramatic rise of the mobile phone has impacted fixed line telephones around the world. Research shows that in the U.S., fixed subscriptions peaked in 2005, and numbers have been dropping since. In the same report, it’s shown that in Africa out of 100 people, only 1.4 have a fixed phone line, while there are 63 mobile connections for every 100 people.
There’s little sign our love of the mobile phone will decrease in the same way anytime soon. According to IDC, in the three months leading up to the summer in 2014, 301 million smartphones were shipped, breaking all previous records, and crossing the 300 million mark for the first time.