Five billion people to use mobile phones in 2010: UN

February 15, 2010
Indian onlookers take photographs on their mobile phones during a procession in Mumbai in 2009. The ranks of cell phone subscribers will swell to five billion people this year thanks to the growth of smartphones in developed nations and mobile services in poor nations, a UN agency has said.

The ranks of cell phone subscribers will swell to five billion people this year thanks to the growth of smartphones in developed nations and mobile services in poor nations, a UN agency said Monday.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) also said the number of mobile broadband subscriptions would exceed one billion this year after reaching 600 million in 2009.

"Even during an , we have seen no drop in the demand for communications services," ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said in a statement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the industry's biggest trade show.

The number of mobile subscribers had reached 4.6 billion people last year.

"I am confident that we will continue to see a rapid uptake in mobile cellular services in particular in 2010, with many more people using their phones to access the Internet," Toure said

In the developing world, the growth has been driven by the use of phones for and health services, the ITU said.

"Good examples include sending reminder messages to patient's phones when they have a medical appointment, or need a pre-natal check-up," Toure said.

"Or using SMS messages to deliver instructions on when and how to take complex medication such as anti-retrovirals or vaccines," he said, adding that such uses can save millions of dollars and lives.

People with no bank accounts but mobile subscriptions are also increasingly able to do financial transactions with their phones in developing countries, he said.

Explore further: Sales using mobile phones to skyrocket

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5 comments

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rincewind
not rated yet Feb 15, 2010
Does anyone know where I can find data re: cell phone usage over the last 10-20 years?
trekgeek1
not rated yet Feb 15, 2010
This is a great story. This is what the future needs to be. We need to have networks linked to every person in order to circumvent political propaganda around the world. Now people in countries where the government controls much of the communications will start to see beyond their borders. This is an example of technology liberating groups of people.
Fazer
not rated yet Feb 15, 2010
This is a great story. This is what the future needs to be. We need to have networks linked to every person in order to circumvent political propaganda around the world. Now people in countries where the government controls much of the communications will start to see beyond their borders. This is an example of technology liberating groups of people.


I completely agree with you. Unfortunately, these countries still have control of the telecom industry within their borders, so they can filter it or evne shut it down in an emergency. Perhaps hybred cell/sattelite phones will help overcome that bottleneck?

Peace and long life.
dan42day
1 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2010
Finally! Now starving people in underdeveloped countries can call Dominoes and order a pizza!
samoppenheim
not rated yet Feb 16, 2010
Somethings wrong with data. That would mean 5 bil out of 6 bil have phones, including elderly, children, and rural/poor globally. It should state 5 bil ACCOUNTS open- many people have two or more accounts - mobile work, mobile home, wifi-on-a-USB. Etc. Still impressive, but misleading use of statistics.

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