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2bn mobile phones in use

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There is now one mobile phone subscription for every three people on the planet, according to researchers at Wireless Intelligence.

The information service, a collaboration between analyst house Ovum and the GSM Association says that there are now more than two billion mobile subscriptions out there, including pre-paid accounts.

The actual number of subscribers is, of course, lower because some people have multiple accounts - phones for work, home and showing off, for instance. Meanwhile other accounts, many of them pre-paid numbers, are inactive.

But Wireless Intelligence says that the figure is still a "major milestone" for the industry.

Unsurprisingly, most of the growth is in large developing markets, such as China, India and Africa along with Eastern Europe and Latin America. Western Europe is pretty much mined out, and penetration is expected to exceed 100 per cent in the region by 2007.

According to Nokia, which Gartner says sold nearly 32 per cent of all phones in Q2 this year, getting to three billion will take another five years. ®

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