The planet now has 5 billion mobile subscribers, according to an estimate by Ericsson this week.
In 2000, the world had a total of 720 million mobile phone users, according to the ITU.
Two million mobiles are added daily, estimates Ericsson, and the number of 3G WCDMA subscriptions now exceeds 500 million worldwide.
The estimate is based on data from carriers worldwide, and compares to the global population of nearly 6.9 billion people, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Mobile broadband subscribers are expected to total 3.4 billion by 2015 (from 360 million in 2009).
Studies show that soon 80 percent of all people accessing the internet will be doing so using their mobile device.
Most of the recent growth comes from developing countries like India and China. In developed countries like the U.S., the number of new cell phone subscriptions has fallen drastically in the last six months. Carriers are hoping to keep growth going by enticing more people to use multiple wireless devices, like e-book readers, tablet computers and Internet-connected GPS units.
It’s not uncommon for people to have multiple subscriptions for phones or other wireless devices, like laptops, so Ericsson’s figure indicates that somewhat less than 5 billion people have wireless phone service.
Cisco has predicted that by 2014, the average mobile broadband connection will generate 7 GB of traffic per month. Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX subscribers use around 7 GB of data per month now, reports Fierce Wireless.
Research2guidance, a market researcher, says the worldwide smartphone application market will grow from $1.94 billion in 2009 to $15.65 billion by 2013.
To meet the needs of 7 billion mobile subs in 2015, flat-rate tariffs are likely to be abandoned due to dramatically different mobile data requirements, with some 3.5 billion broadband subscribers predicted by 2015.