Telecom Lead India: GSMA on Thursday said only 45 percent of world’s population subscribed to mobile services.
GSMA also said total mobile connections will reach 6.8 billion including machine-to machine (M2M) communications.
If the industry does not include M2M and inactive SIM cards, the total number of mobile connections by fourth quarter of 2012 will be around 5.9 billion.
Consumers are using an average of 1.85 SIM cards each.
Total number of mobile subscribers globally will be 3.2 billion by Q4 2012, growing to 4 billion within the next five years.
Global penetration based on total connections is set to exceed 100 per cent in 2013, with mobile subscriber penetration standing at only 45 per cent by the end of 2012.
“This research, for the first time, highlights the difference between mobile connections and individual mobile subscribers, and points to a significant growth opportunity for the mobile industry as we continue to connect the world’s population,” said Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA.
By 2017, subscriber penetration in developed countries is set to pass 80 percent and growth in these markets is expected to slow.
Subscriber penetration across developing economies is forecast to increase from 39 percent in 2012 to 47 percent in 2017.
Europe has the highest mobile penetration in the world, with countries such as Denmark, Finland, Germany and the UK already averaging close to 90 percent subscriber penetration.
Africa currently has the lowest penetration, with only one out of three people in the region subscribing to mobile services in 2012, a figure that is expected to increase to 40 percent in 2017.
In Asia, subscriber penetration stands 40 percent, and is expected to grow to 49 percent by 2017. In China, the world’s largest mobile market, subscriber penetration will grow from 43 percent to 52 percent over the next five years.