Mobile subscriptions could soon outnumber human population

The number of mobile subscriptions worldwide has risen from less than 1 billion in 2000 to over 6 billion now, according to the latest figures published by the World Bank in its “Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximising Mobile” report. Nearly 5 billion of these pre-paid and post-paid subscriptions are in developing countries.

Approximately three quarters of the globe's population now have access to a mobile phone. It is becoming increasingly common for one person to own more than one subscription, implying their number could soon outgrow that of the human population.

The report also details the ways in which mobiles are being used. It explores the rise of the “app economy”. More than 30 billion mobile applications were downloaded in 2011.

“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,” states the report.

The World Bank encourages governments to foster mobile app development. It's estimated that in the United States alone, the app industry provided 466,000 jobs in 2011, the annual growth rate from 2010 being an astonishing 45 percent.

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