Mobile connections - additional information
The first prototype of a handheld mobile phone was presented to the world in 1973, but it took more than three decades until mobile phones became accessible and affordable for almost everyone. In fact, figures show that there are about 5 billion mobile subscribers today worldwide, about two thirds of the estimated global population. By 2020, the number of mobile subscriber is expected to increase to close to 6 billion, taking the global penetration rate to 73 percent. Classic mobile phone use is on the decline however, with some 63 percent of worldwide mobile phone users owning a smartphone as of 2015.
The world region with most mobile subscriptions is currently Asia Pacific, due to the area’s large population. As of 2016, Asia Pacific boasted over 4 billion cellular connections, three times more than both South and North America combined. In fact, no less than seven Asian states (including transcontinental Russia) are present in a top 10 ranking of countries with the highest number of mobile- subscriptions. As of 2014, China is the largest market of mobile phone subscriptions in the world, home to some 1.3 billion mobile-cellular users, the equivalent of about one fifth of worldwide subscriptions. By 2019, this number is expected to increase to 1.46 billion subscriptions.
Although the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), which includes some of the former member-states of the Soviet Union, ranks last in terms of number of mobile phone subscriptions, the region is first in terms of mobile phone penetration. As of 2016, there are an estimated 141.2 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the area, due to the fact that many users have multiple mobile phones at the same time.