London, United Kingdom 26 February 2013 -- Nearly half the world’s population now uses mobile communications, according to a new report, The Mobile Economy 2013, developed by the mobile industry group GSMA and A.T. Kearney. The number of mobile subscribers in 2012 was 3.2 billion people. It is expected that a further 700 million subscribers will be added by 2017 and the 4 billion-subscriber milestone will be reached in 2018.
“Mobile is a vibrant and evolving industry at the heart of everyday life for billions of people around the world,” said Anne Bouverot, director general, GSMA. “It’s exciting to look at the possibilities ahead of us as we connect the world’s population to the mobile Internet.”
At the end of 2012, there were 6.8 billion mobile connections worldwide, a figure expected to grow to 9.7 billion by the end of 2017, says the report. The proliferation of mobile broadband is enabling an explosion in data traffic and in 2012, 0.9 exabytes (0.9 billion GB) of data traversed mobile networks every month; this will increase by 66% to 11.2 exabytes per month in 2017. 2 The rate of growth is best illustrated by the fact that total traffic volumes in 2012 were as high as all prior years combined.
The mobile industry is a major contributor to the global economy. The total mobile ecosystem revenues were US$1.6 trillion, or 2.2 per cent of global GDP.