Digital 2014: Half of the World's Population Now Has a Mobile Phone
The number of unique mobile phone users around the world has just passed 50%of the world's total population.
The usage figures - provided by GSMA Intelligence – suggest that 100 million more people started using a mobile device since April of this year.
To put those figures in context, that's more than 750,000 new mobile users every day – or 9 new users every second.
Changing usage patterns
Meanwhile, the average mobile user still maintains roughly 2 active mobile contracts, with the total number of active mobile connections almost equal to the number of people living on earth.
The average of 1.97 connections per user indicates a slight drop since April though, when the figure was 1.99.
This fall may in part be fuelled by an increasing move to smartphones; as more people gain access to mobile data plans and start to use 'chat apps' like WhatsApp and WeChat, the need to maintain multiple mobile contracts across different networks in order to benefit from cost efficiencies will diminish:
On that note, it's worth noting that smartphone adoption is continuing apace; Ericsson reports that more than one-third of all active mobile contracts now run on smartphones, while smart devices accounted for 65% of the 300 million new handset sold between April and June of this year.
Critically, this 300 million figure - when compared to the growth in overall mobile users outlined above - suggests that many existing mobile users are upgrading to smart devices.
However, more than 4.6 billion mobile connections around the world still run on more basic, 'feature phone' handsets.
Connecting on the go
Despite the continued dominance of feature phones though, the use of data-powered services is becoming more widespread: in the past quarter, Ericsson report that mobile broadband subscriptions exceeded 2.4 billion, while more than 1.5 billion social media users around the world accessed their accounts via mobile devices in the past 30 days:
This article first appeared on the We Are Social blog.