updated 05:10 pm EST, Thu November 29, 2007
Cell use at 50 percent
The number of global cellular subscriptions is now equivalent to half the planet's total population, says the research company Informa. A new analysis claims that subcriptions have surpassed the 3.3 billion mark, a staggering achievement for any electronics product. Growth is so fast, cellphones are already ingrained with otherwise impoverished countries such as China and India, with some tentative steps being made into Africa. National economies have in some cases benefitted greatly: much of Finland's financial health is dependent on Nokia, and among South Korea's corporate giants are Samsung and LG.
Reuters notes though that cellphone ownership is still greatly biased towards wealthy people, as there are 59 countries where subscription penetration is over 100 percent, thanks to buyers owning more than one cellphone. Companies in rich countries are also making far more profit than those in poor areas: despite being owned by the same parent company, British carrier 3 generates an average of $70 a month from each customer, while a Sri Lankan equivalent pulls $3 or less.