Three-quarters of world now has phone access


Image: By BiztechAfrica
Three-quarters of world now has phone access

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

A new World Bank report indicates that around three-quarters of the world's inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone.

The report, Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile, says the number of mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, both pre-paid and post-paid, has grown from fewer than 1 billion in 2000 to over 6 billion now, of which nearly 5 billion in developing countries.

“Ownership of multiple subscriptions is becoming increasingly common, suggesting that their number will soon exceed that of the human population…the mobile communications story is moving to a new level, which is not so much about the phone but how it is used,” says the report by the World Bank and infoDev, its technology entrepreneurship and innovation program.

The report says more than 30 billion mobile applications were downloaded in 2011 - extending the capabilities of phones, for instance to become mobile wallets, navigational aids or price comparison tools.

In developing countries, citizens are increasingly using mobile phones to create new livelihoods and enhance their lifestyles, while governments are using them to improve service delivery and citizen feedback mechanisms. 

The report, the third in the World Bank's series on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development, analyzes the growth and evolution of mobile telephony, and the rise of databased services, including apps, delivered to handheld devices.

"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.

"The challenge now is to enable people, businesses, and governments in developing countries to develop their own locally-relevant mobile applications so they can take full advantage of these opportunities."

The report also explores the consequences for development of the emerging "app economy", especially in agriculture, health, financial services and government, and how it is changing approaches to entrepreneurship and employment.

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus


MTN Ghana ready to deploy 4G LTE

The Chief Executive Officer at MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Twum Asante, has indicated MTN Ghana’s readiness and preparedness to deploy 4G LTE in the country.  Read More

New Airtel shop opens in Meru

Airtel has unveiled a new walk-in Service Centre in Meru that offers customers the convenience and ease of access to Airtel's range of value-added products and services. Read More

BTCL releases ‘ultimate communications solution’

The Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited (BTCL) has unveiled a mobile VSAT product meant to revolutionise the way of doing business in the country.  Read More

Glo unveils Twin Bash with 400% data bonus, 200% airtime bonus

Just two weeks after the launch of the Free Tomorrow promo, Globacom has unveiled another promo with benefits that include quadruple data and free double airtime for calls to all network. Read More

Vodafone Ghana CEO urges African SMEs to embrace technology as a key enabler

Vodafone Ghana Chief Executive Officer Haris Broumidis has urged local entrepreneurs to embrace technology to help their businesses to grow. Read More

Orange signs an agreement with Helios Investment Partners for sale of Telkom Kenya stake

The Orange Group has announced that it has signed a binding agreement with Helios Investment Partners for the sale of its entire 70% stake in Telkom Kenya. Read More

MTN CEO resigns

MTN has appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as Executive Chairman in a temporary capacity following the resignation of Sifiso Dabengwa as CEO. Read More

MTN clarifies NCC fine status

MTN has released a statement to clarify the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) fine and related issues. Read More

Vodacom stresses the need for unified communication for the growth of Nigerian SMEs

Dare Ogunlade, General Manager of Cisco Nigeria, has highlighted the benefits of Unified Communications (UC) to SMEs. Read More

WIOCC CEO among telecoms’ 100 most powerful people for 5th consecutive year

For the fifth consecutive year, Chris Wood, CEO of Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, has been named as one of the 100 most powerful people in the global telecommunications industry. Read More


Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks Unlimited


eCommerce in Africa urged to take advantage of mobile eCommerce in Africa urged to take advantage of mobile

The Executive Chairman of Alltel has urged operators of eCommerce in Ghana and Africa as a whole to take advantage of the current trend for Africans to trade online via their mobile handsets. 


Nigeria needs $25b investment in broadband, says WoodNigeria needs $25b investment in broadband, says Wood

Telecoms executive Adrian Wood speaks to Kokumo Goodie about investment potential in Nigeria.