According to the International Telecommunication Union, we’re likely to see 5 billion cell phone subscriptions this year, on a planet with around 6.8 billion people. At the end of 2009, the total was 4.6 billion.
The increase in cell phone subscriptions across the globe has been driven by developed countries hungry for services like mobile banking and health care.
In developing countries, many have a mobile phone subscription but no bank account — and increasingly, subscribers are using their phones for banking.
“Even the simplest, low-end mobile phone can do so much to improve healthcare in the developing world,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Toure. “Good examples include sending reminder messages to patient’s phones when they have a medical appointment, or need a check-up. It’s such a simple thing to do, and yet it saves millions of dollars — and can help improve and even save the lives of millions of people.”
The GSM Association says there are currently 200 million HSPA connections worldwide, with more than 1,800 HSPA enabled devices available from more than 150 suppliers. Europe will have 120 million connections, Asia Pacific will have 116 million and North America 58 million, bringing the total to 342 million connections at the end of 2010.
Mobile operators around the world will invest up to USD 72 billion in mobile broadband technologies in 2010, projects the GSMA. Wireless broadband is likely to exceed web access from desktop computers within the next five years, says the ITU.
Global handset shipments reached 1.132 billion units worldwide in 2009 with 324 million handsets sold in the fourth quarter of 2009, 10 percent higher than a year earlier, according to new figures from Strategy Analytics.
WCDMA/HSPA base stations will be the work horses of wireless data networks, reports In-Stat. WCDMA will gain the most subscribers, with CDMA2000 and TD-SCDMA taking the distant second and third positions.