October 1, 2016
The United Nations expects the number of mobile phone users around the world to hit four billion by the end of this year.
That’s almost two thirds of the 6.7 billion global population.
Hamadoun Touré, head of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), said that the usage growth has been driven by uptake in rapidly developing economies such as Brazil, China, India and Russia – which together will have total of 1.3 billion mobile users by the end of 2016.
China already makes up almost half of that figure, with 616 million of it population connected to a mobile network.
Touré believes that information communications technology (ICT) will help the UN to meet its millennium development goals (MDGs) for 2015.
The MDGs are eight anti-poverty targets that world leaders agreed upon in 2000, put together to improve social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries.
In the year 2000, just 12% of the world’s population owned a mobile phone.
At UN estimates, 61% will own a mobile phone by the end of this year.
Touré said that the high take up of mobile phones demonstrates that it is possible to connect the world to the benefits of ICT, creating business and education opportunities.
Mobile broadband is also increasingly popular in many developing countries, with states across south-east Asia installing 3G networks.