Infographic: Mobile ownership across the world

March 30, 2011

How does mobile ownership vary across the world? The latest data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) breaks down the number of people for every SIM card subscription across the different continents. Which continents are the mobile rich and which the mobile poor? The results might surprise you. Take a look at the infographic.

The results might raise an eyebrow. In , for example, there is a subscription for every 0.8 people. Or thirteen mobiles for every 10 people, which might be an easier number to envisage. Once you take away the very young and the very old from the equation, that means a very large number of people with either two phones, or a data dongle, or a GPS-system that requires a SIM, or maybe tablet computers.

In , on the other hand, there’s one mobile subscription for every 2.4 people. Or four phones for every ten people. As you can imagine, the numbers are a lot lower than that in poorer, rural regions.

Having the data for very large regions means that the extremes of mobile penetration rates don’t register quite so dramatically as they would on a country-by-country basis. There’s clearly going to be a lot of difference between the number of mobiles per person in New York and Asuncion in Paraguay across The Americas; or between Dubai and Khartoum among the Arab States, but an averaged figure doesn’t show that. On the other hand, these are the latest and most reliable figures that are publicly available.

Explore further: Five billion people to use mobile phones in 2010: UN

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