World’s 5.3 billion mobile phone users send 6.1 trillion SMS in 3 years

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Page last updated at Friday, March 11, 2011 12:12 PM //

Mobile phone subscription is estimated to be at 5.3 billion, more than 90 per cent of the world’s population, and 6.1 trillion text messages have been sent in three years.

According to International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recently released data titled “The world in 2010: ICT facts and figures”, 940 million out of the total 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions are third-generation (3G) mobile services subscribers.

“More than 90 per cent of the world’s population now has access to a mobile network, making mobile telephony truly ubiquitous,” it said.

According to the data growth was strong in developing countries (which have 3.8 billion subscriptions), from 53 per cent of total mobile subscriptions at the end of 2005 to an estimated 73 per cent at the end of 2010.

In Africa, penetration rates were forecast to reach an estimated 41 per cent at the end of 2010 compared to an estimated 76 per cent globally, leaving a significant potential for growth.

Statistics provided in the data show that 6.1 trillion Short Message Services (SMS) were sent globally between 2007 and 2010.

“The total number of SMS sent globally tripled between 2007 and 2010, from an estimated 1.8 trillion to a staggering 6.1 trillion. In other words, close to 200 000 text messages are sent every second”, the data revealed.

The number of Internet users has doubled in the last five years. The data says the number has surpassed the two billion mark at the end of 2010. But only a few people in Africa have access to the  Internet  – standing at a mere 9.6 per cent, which is far behind both the world average of 30 per cent and the developing-country average of 21 per cent.

China is the largest Internet market in the world, with more than 420 million users, according to the data.

Although fixed broadband subscriptions are increasing with 555 million globally, Africa’s penetration rate is less than one per cent which demonstrates the challenges that persist in increasing access to high speed, high-capacity internet access on the continent, the ITU said.

In Ghana, however, mobile phone penetration has reached 75% of the country’s population of 23 million people, according to the National Communications Authority.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Ekow Quandzie

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World’s 5.3 billion mobile phone users send 6.1 trillion SMS in 3 years

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