More than half of world's inhabitants are expected to be using a mobile phone by 2015: ITU report

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Mobile Technology has lead to a connectivity revolution. The Internation Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report 2010 that was launched today at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), expects more than half of world's inhabitants are expected to be using a mobile phone by 2015. World Telecommunication Development Conference is currently meeting in Hyderabad.


The report provides a mid-term review of the progress made in creating a global information society by 2015, a commitment that governments agreed upon at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which took place in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005.

Mobile cellular network coverage already stands at 86% of the population,and there is every chance it will rise to close to 100% by 2015. Mobile cellular telephony has grown sharply, and it looks very much like more than half of the world population will be using a mobile telephone by 2015.

"Today, nearly 90 per cent of the world's population is covered by a mobile cellular network," says ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré, "and even people in rural and remote areas now have the means to access the global information society". Take the world's two most populous countries in the world - India and China - where mobile technology has provided basic telephone services to over 90 per cent of villages. In many developing countries, fixed telephone lines are largely limited to urban areas. But today, more than half the rural households have a mobile telephone.


The mid-term review reveals that, with respect to the number of mobile cellular subscriptions,the target has been achieved. By the end of 2009, worldwide mobile cellular penetration stood at 67% , compared to 20% in 2003, at the time of the first phase of the Summit, when few foresaw the rapid take-up of mobile services. Developing countries surpassed the 50% penetration mark in 2008, and a number of regions (Europe and CIS) have passed the 100% penetration mark.

These penetration figures include double counts (because one person may have more than one subscription or SIM card) and do not therefore equate exactly to the number of actual users of mobile telephones.

By the end of 2009, some 1.7 billion people, or 26 %of the world population, were online and global Internet user penetration has doubled between 2003 and 2009. While developed countries have achieved the target, with an estimated 64% penetration rate at the end of 2009, less than 20 % of people in the developing world were using the Internet. Data also show that in the majority of countries still more men than women use the Internet. Major efforts are required to bring half the world population - including half of the female population - online by 2015

Heena Jhingan