Three quarters of world population have access to mobile phone, says World Bank
Around three-quarters of the world's inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone and the mobile communications story is moving to a new level, according to a new World Bank study.
According to the World Bank and infoDev, its technology entrepreneurship and innovation programme, the number of mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, pre-paid and post-paid, has grown from less than one billion in 2000 to over six billion to currently with nearly 5 billion in developing countries.
“Ownership of multiple subscriptions is becoming increasingly common, suggesting that their number will soon exceed that of the human population,” the report which was released on Monday states.
According to Information and Communications for Development 2012, maximising mobile more than 30 billion mobile applications, or "apps," were downloaded in 2011 - software that extends the capabilities of phones, for instance to become mobile wallets, navigational aids or price comparison tools. In developing countries, citizens are increasingly using mobile phones to create new livelihoods and enhance their lifestyles, while governments are using them to improve service delivery and citizen feedback mechanisms.
"Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development - from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes," said World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte. "The challenge now is to enable people, businesses, and governments in developing countries to develop their own locally-relevant mobile applications so they can take full advantage of these opportunities."
This new report, the third in the World Bank's series on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development, analyzes the growth and evolution of mobile telephony, and the rise of databased services, including apps, delivered to handheld devices. The report explores the consequences for development of the emerging "app economy", especially in agriculture, health, financial services and government, and how it is changing approaches to entrepreneurship and employment.