2012′s Mobile Numbers, Part 2: Worldwide Mobile Penetration

by Joey deVilla on December 21, 2012

In yesterday’s post, I covered some mobile numbers reported by mobile industry guru Tomi Ahonen, in which he observed that we would hit the “Mobile Moment” — that point when there are as many mobile subscriptions as there are people on Earth — in early 2013. Today, we’ll look at mobile penetration rates around the world.

world mobile penetration rate

Parseco have posted an article based on data from the European Mobile Industry Observatory and mobiThinking that looks at mobile penetration worldwide. As you can see from the map above, the established economic powers of the late 20th century have either hit or exceeded full mobile penetration, and the emerging powers of India and China, who collectively have 2 billion people, are three-quarters of the way there already.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, a penetration rate greater than 100% means that on average, people have more than one mobile subscription. Europe boasts the highest rate of penetration worldwide, and that’s not surprising: it’s not unusual to see someone with two mobile phones or constantly swapping SIMs with a single phone.

Here are some of the subscriber numbers and penetration rates that they report for various regions:

Region Number of Subscribers Penetration Rate
China 1.03 billion 76%
India 919.2 million 75%
Europe 656 million 128%
USA 331.6 million 104%

The mobile penetration numbers in Ericsson’s November 2012 Mobility Report [3.1MB PDF] differ only slightly from Parseco’s:

ericsson penetration

In their report, Ericsson said that global mobile penetration reached 91% at the end of Q3 2012.

This article also appears in Mobilize!: The CTS Mobile Tech Blog.

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