Mobile subscriptions poised to outnumber people on Earth

May 10, 2013 at 7:35 PM

UNITED NATIONS, May 10 (UPI) -- The number of mobile subscriptions will outpace the number of people living in the world by the end of next year, a U.N. agency said.

The International Telecoms Union predicts subscriptions will pass 7 billion in early 2014; currently there are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions while the world population stands at 7.1 billion people.

"Every day we are moving closer to having almost as many mobile cellular subscriptions as people on Earth," Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"The mobile revolution is 'm-powering' people in developing countries by delivering ICT (information and communication technology) applications in education, health, government, banking, environment and business."

However, the report noted, in some countries, such as India, mobile growth is slowing.

Europe has the highest penetration of mobile subscriptions at 75 percent, the ITU said, followed by the Americas at 61 percent.

Asia has 32 percent of its population with mobile subscriptions, and Africa 16 percent, it said.

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