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Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:18

The world now has 4 billion mobile phone users

By
Two-thirds of the world’s population uses a mobile phone as global user numbers passed the four billion mark, with continued strong growth in newly industrialised countries – and demand for mobile data booming across Europe, Japan and the US.

According to the European Information Technology Observatory, the number of mobile users would climb from 3.9 billion in 2008 to an expected 4.4 billion in 2009 – an increase of about 12 per cent.

“The strongest growth in the use of mobile phones now comes from newly industrialized and developing countries”, EITO chairman Bruno Lamborghini said, with especially strong growth across BRIC economies.

The number of mobile phone users in India is expected to increase 32 per cent this year to 457 million, while numbers in Brazil would rise 14 per cent to 172 million, EITO reported.

The China market continued its incredible run of strong growth, expanding 12 per cent to 684 million.

With penetration rates already high in industrialised countries, growth rates were less spectacular – but impressive all the same, given the limited room to expand.

In the EU, the number of phone accounts will grow by 4 per cent to 641 million this year – meaning there are considerably more mobile accounts than people.

“In Europe, the USA and Japan, the trend is for high-quality multimedia mobiles with Internet access”, Lamborghini said.

EITO said the number of UMTS accounts in the EU will increase by 36 per cent in 2009 to about 172 million, while accounts based on GSM technology will decrease by 5 percent to 469 million.

A similar picture will emerge in the US market, EITO found, with the number of UMTS users expected to increase by 74 per cent to 108 million this year, while GSM accounts will fall by 7 percent to 177 million.
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