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Botswana: Five billion people in the world use mobile phones, 436 million in sub-Sahara Africa


The number of mobile phone subscribers in the world has reached five billion, according to the research arm of the world mobile industry organization, GSMA. But sub-Sahara Africa is the least penetrated with 436 million incomparable subscribers, the organization says in a press release copied to

The GSMA defines a ‘incomparable mobile subscriber’ as an individual person that can account for multiple ‘mobile connections’, that is SIM cards.

According to GSMA Intelligence, the world’s five billion incomparable mobile subscribers today account for approximately 7.7 billion mobile connections – excluding mobile-to-mobile (M2M).

“The five billion milestone means that additional than two-thirds of the world people is presently connected to a mobile service. It has taken four years to add the new one billion subscribers,” it said.

Commenting, Mats Granryd, the Director General of the GSMA said, “Reaching the five billion subscriber milestone is a tremendous succcess for an industry that is only a few decades old, and reflects the a lot of billions of dollars that mobile operators have invested in networks, services and spectrum over a lot of years.”

“Today mobile is a truly world platform, delivering connectivity and, perhaps additional importantly, social and economic opportunities to citizens in all corners of the world. This massive reach allows the mobile industry to be a key player in delivering world initiatives such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals1,” he added.

The release indicates that additional than half, that is 55 % of mobile subscribers are based in the Asia Pacific region, which is home to the world’s two major mobile markets: China and India.

China accounts for additional than a billion of the world’s subscribers, while India accounts for 730 million,” it said.

The majority highly penetrated region in the world is Europe, where 86 % of citizens are subscribed to a mobile service. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least penetrated region at 44 %, the release added.

GSMA Intelligence tracks the number of incomparable mobile subscribers worldwide in real time at

“This number is calculated using GSMA Intelligence’s extensive database of mobile statistics and forecasts, which comprises tens of millions of individual data points, updated daily,” it said.

GSMA Intelligence monitors in real time, as mobile phone companies around the world add to their inventory of subscribers.

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