UN telecoms agency International Telecommunications Union announced that there were about as much mobile phone subscriptions as inhabitants of this planet. 6 billion subscriptions were registered by the end of 2011, according to their reports. Almost one billion of these were found in China. The report, titled Measuring the Information Society 2012, was compiled after access to ICT in 155 countries was surveyed.
“We count Sim cards, not the number of devices or people, so if one person has two Sim cards in one device, it counts as two subscriptions; and we count monthly subscriptions as well,” said Susan Teltscher, head of the agency’s data division. This could probably contribute to the high number associated with mobile phone subscriptions. However, sim cards used in modems or in a tablet were not counted.
The agency, based in the UN headquarters in Geneva, also stated that slightly above one-third of the world’s population used the internet by 2011. However, the disparity in internet usage between users in developed and developing countries has not reduced, as only 24% of the population in developing countries were online, compared with 70% in developed countries. There were almost twice as much mobile broadband internet subscriptions as fixed broadband internet.
Despite the huge number of internet users, prices in developing countries are yet to go down. However, according to Brahima Sanou, director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, in order to bring the internet to even more people, 3G network has to be expanded and the cost of broadband-enabled devices and internet subscription lowered even further.