Witnessing the results for the first quarter of 2011 only makes us casting an eye into the next months and foresee what kind of milestones we will hit during this calendar year.SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE
And while I love my stats in the mobile industry, this year planet earth will take the limelight, as we will hear the planet's population passes 7 Billion people alive. It was 6.9 Billion last year. So the really big number we need to prepare for this year is 7B.5.8B MOBILE SUBS
Let's move to the big mobile and tech numbers. If you think 5.2 Billion active mobile phone accounts was an impressive number at the end of last year, think again. We are already past 5.3 Billion and we are fast headed to the number of 5.8 Billion at the end of this year. That means a (nominal) mobile phone subscription penetration rate of 82.9% per capita for Planet Earth. What can I say about that number? Mobile dwarfs any other media or technology; even radio was passed several years ago. We are past most comparisons, like only 4.2 Billion people use a toothbrush etc. So let's use comparative stats. Mobile phone accounts at the end of the year will be 5 times as big as the total number of fixed landline phones! And some smart people argued way back when, that it was 'impossible' for mobile phone accounts to ever bypass fixed landline accounts...
I am projecting the "6B" figure, six billion active mobile phone subscription numbers to be passed in the Spring of 2012, and that the planet's penetration rate will exceed 100% per capita by late 2014. Yes, less than three years and we'll have more mobile phone accounts in the world than all people alive, from babies to grandparents. 3.9B UNIQUES
That number obviously includes those customers who have more than one phone or account. What of the number of unique mobile phone owners on the planet, actual people who have at least one mobile phone subscription and at least one phone? That number will near 4 Billion this year, I project we'll end the year at a bit over 3.9 Billion unique mobile phone owners/users on the planet, for a real penetration rate of 55.7%. Considering much of Africa lives on less than $1 per day, and that the planet is past 50% real unique owners of mobile phone accounts, this is a massive number too.4.6B PHONES IN USE
What of the true count of mobile phones in use globally? That number sits between the number of uniques, and the total subscriptions. Every unique owner has to have at least one phone, but not all who have multiple accounts, will bother with a phone for each account. In most countries the prepaid SIM card allows for many accounts to be easily managed on different networks, while using just one phone. Increasingly in the Emerging World markets, phone makers now offer dual SIM (Subscriber Identity Module
) or even triple SIM phones. My projection has the world with 4.6 Billion actual mobile phone handsets in use by the end of the year. Against the total planet's population, it is 67% per capita. Compared to personal computers, its more than 3x as many, against TV sets, about 2.5 times as many. And obviously while most of the phones today are not 'smartphones' they are quite advanced computer-like devices. Like we could read in my 2010 TomiAhonen Phone Book
on all the stats about the phone industry, over 96% of all phones in use worldwide have at least a basic browser, more than 94% have a color screen, 77% have a camera, 68% have a memory card slot and 59% can do basic apps via Java or Brew. It's very easy to think of such capabilities as being a 'modest' pocket computer, even where they are not true smartphones (at the end of last year, only 17% of the installed base of phones worldwide were smartphones).
So if we just use last year's number for the installed base, and multiply by this year's total of handsets, the world will have more than 3.5 Billion cameraphones in use at the end of this year - for a planet of 7 Billion people. Yes, literally there will be a camera for half of the population. Like I've been saying for a while now, for 9 out of 10 people worldwide, who have ever taken a picture, the only type of camera they have ever used, is a cameraphone. The Nikon or Canon that you may carry in your travel gear, is for the wealthy portion of the planet. Most cannot afford a stand-alone camera, and will use the cameraphone instead.
Oh, and one more stat. Last year 71% of all phones in use had a 'real', HTML-compliant web browser
(the rest of the basic browsers were WAP compatible). What is 71% of 4.6 Billion phones? 3.3 Billion. Yes, the number of phones with a 'real browser' is almost 3 times as big, as the total connected number of all personal computers of any kind, that are connected to the web, including desktops, laptops, netbooks and tablets. Is your website already mobile enabled?700M SECOND PHONES
Second phone statistic we can share here is a mind-numbing one. At the end of this year, globally 18% of all people who have a mobile phone account will walk around not just with two or more accounts, but carrying two mobile phones in their pockets! That's 700 million 'second phones' in use! It is a massive number. Note that is is more than all portable personal computers of any kind. It's almost as big as the total number of smartphones (and many smartphone owners walk around with two smartphones, i.e. one Blackberry and an iPhone etc.). My joke that the youth can simultaneously carry on two SMS conversations holding a phone in each hand, is more and more becoming a reality. Note that these are not second subscriptions used for 'data' connections with a 3G data dongle for the laptop - that would be a third subscription, if you also walk around with two phones. That's three active paid mobile phone subscriptions upon a single individual. Astonishing, isn't it? That's not necessarily the 'mass market' consumer (yet) but is typical of those working in the high tech and media industries already today, and university students of course...ONLY 39% ARE SINGLE SIM
There is another fascinating statistic that stems from the previous paragraph. As the planet proceeds to more accounts per person, especially with the proliferation of prepaid accounts, we will end the year, where less than four out of ten mobile phone customers, in fact 39%, will be of the kind who can survive with only one account (and only one phone). Yes by the end of the year, 61% of us will find it useful to own more than one mobile phone subscription. And some respected analysts still say this industry is "near saturation". How clueless they are.
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