75% of the world has cellphones

2012-07-17 16:20

Cape Town - A report by the World Bank has revealed that the majority of the global population has a mobile phone.

Statistics out of Tuesday show that around 75% of the world's population has access to a mobile phone and is an indicator not only of communications, but also of the the move toward e-commerce on mobile platforms, the World Bank said.

"The number of mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, both pre-paid and post-paid, has grown from fewer than one billion in 2000 to over six billion now, of which nearly five billion in developing countries," the global body told News24.

The mobile phone ecosystem has been identified as an income generator and governments, particularly in developing countries, have been urged to grow mobile penetration as a boost to economic growth.

"If the policy makers and ministers of finance take a longer term view, I think what they will see is that by actually reducing these taxes, you stimulate socio-economic development, you end up with a broader tax base and you actually have a net larger 'take' down the road," Peter Lyons GSMA director for spectrum policy in Africa and the Middle East told News24 recently.


World Bank figures show that for every 10% increase in mobile penetration, there is a corresponding 0.8% increase in gross domestic product (GDP).

"Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development - from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes," said World Bank vice president for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte.

As the cost of smartphones declines, it gives consumers in countries where cable broadband infrastructure is unavailable or unaffordable an opportunity to participate in the mobile ecosystem.

"The mobile revolution is right at the start of its growth curve: mobile devices are becoming cheaper and more powerful while networks are doubling in bandwidth roughly every 18 months and expanding into rural areas," said Tim Kelly, lead ICT policy specialist at the World Bank.

Countries like Kenya and India have pushed mobile phone adoption with the deployment of services such as the M-Pesa payment system and deployment of apps to facilitate interactions between government and citizens.

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