Feeds

GSMA: There are more mobile connections than PEOPLE... but WHO'S HOGGING them all?

We need to track the users

Build a business case: developing custom apps

By the end of the year there will be more mobile phone connections than people on the planet, although they mostly belong to the richer part of the planet – a whopping half the world’s population doesn’t have connectivity.

But at present, the system simply identifies accounts rather than their users.

Research by the mobile industry trade association the GSMA says that as of April 2014, there were 7 billion cellular mobile accounts active, this is growing at a rate which is set to pass the 7.2 billion people on the planet forecast for the end of the year.

But as Joss Gillet of the GSMA points out, it would be wrong to assume that everyone has a mobile phone and he gives a figure of only one person in two having a mobile phone account. This is down to lots of people having more than one connected device. The industry metric is the number of active SIM cards. Indeed analyst Benedict Evans predicts a time when people in the developed world won’t know how many connected devices they have.

The GSMA research is interesting because it focuses on rural parts of the world, and takes into account not just that one person might have more than one SIM but that more than one person might share a single phone. In many parts of Africa, it’s common for enterprising householders to rent out phones to the rest of the villagers.

In Gillet's research, he also looks at the number of people under 14 in India, the vast majority of whom will not have a mobile phone – although it’s always worth remembering that India has a larger middle class than Europe – and the proportion of people in the world who don’t have mobile coverage. The report looks at how many subscribers in the developing world have more SIMs than phones. This trend is reflected by the increasing availability of dual-SIM phones such as the Nokia 630, specifically targeted at the developing world.

Gillet proposes a new metric of “mobile users” rather than mobile subscribers, and ventures that the proportion of the population with phones is unlikely to pass 71 per cent. Mobile technology has a significant economic effect, so much so that the World Bank has looked at this and has also made the distinction between active accounts and number of users.

Two areas the GSMA report doesn’t cover are machine-to-machine – which will increasingly affect the number of active connections – and accounts which are classed as “active” but which are not being used. Some time ago the UK operators agreed a metric of an "active account" as being one which had made a revenue-generating transaction in the last three months. As someone calling such an (inactive) account and leaving a voicemail can be revenue-generating because of mobile termination, a SIM can easily be sitting in a drawer and still be counted as being used. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.