There are more cellphone contracts than people.
ITU, the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies, said the number of mobile cellular telephone subscriptions was greater than the global population, as fixed-telephone subscriptions declined by 12.4% in 2018.
“The new 2018 estimates reveal that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and use of information and communication technologies. Access to telecommunication networks continues to increase, in particular in mobile connections,” said ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau director Brahima Sanou.
The agency, which released its report on Friday, also reported that, for the first time, more than half of the world’s population would be using the internet by the end of 2018.
This translated to 3.9-billion connected people.
Africa reported the strongest growth, with internet usage up from 2.1% in 2005 to 24.4% in 2018.
“ITU’s global and regional estimates for 2018 are a pointer to the great strides the world is making towards building a more inclusive global information society,” said ITU secretary general Houlin Zhao.
However, Zhao added, too many people were still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy.
“We must encourage more investment from the public and private sectors, and create a good environment to attract investments, and support technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline,” he said.
ITU’s statistics show that:
- The number of active mobile-broadband subscriptions have increased from 268- million in 2007 to 5.3-billion in 2018.
- Almost half of all households had at least one computer, up from just above a quarter in 2005.
- Almost 60% of households had internet access at home in 2018.