Two-thirds of the world’s population are now connected by mobile devices

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Two-thirds of the world’s population are connected by mobile devices, according to data from GSMA.

This milestone of 5 billion unique mobile subscribers globally was achieved in Q2 2017. By 2020, almost 75% of the global population will be connected by mobile.

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Smartphones will continue to drive new mobile subscriptions. By 2020, new smartphone users will account for 66% of new global connections, up from 53% in Q2 2017.
  • Developing markets will account for the largest share of new mobile subscription growth over the forecast period. Forty percent of new subscribers will stem from five markets: India, China, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
  • But mobile growth is slowing. It took around four years to reach 5 billion mobile users, compared with the three-and-a-half years it took to reach 4 billion. This suggests it’s going to take longer to reach 6 billion users, as the pool of new mobile users continues to shrink.

Affordability, content relevance, and digital literacy are likely bigger inhibitors to mobile internet adoption than a lack of network infrastructure is. Two-thirds of the 3.7 billion consumers who aren’t connected to the internet are within range of 3G or 4G networks. This suggests that device cost, a lack of relevant apps and content, and not knowing how to use the device are the primary barriers to mobile adoption.


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