There are now approximately 3.3 billion active mobile phone connections
worldwide, enough to cover half the global population, according to new data
from Informa Telecoms and Media.
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Wireless subscriptions have increased 18% in the past year, from 2.8 billion in
late 2006, as a growing number of people buy handsets in emerging markets like
India and China. The Indian market alone is expected to achieve penetration of
over 40% within the next few years, up from just 13% at the beginning of 2007.
It took 19 years – from the launch of the first commercial wireless network in
1981 until 2000 – for mobile phone subscriptions to reach 10% penetration
worldwide, and just 12 months to grow from 40% to 50%, representing the
remarkable growth that has occurred this year.
Informa believes that it will take longer reach further wireless market
milestones, however, now that developed cell phone markets in Europe and North
America have largely matured. The research firm predicts that 60% global
penetration won’t be achieved until 2009, and 66% isn’t likely to happen until