London: The number of mobile phone subscriptions are set to outnumber the world's population by the end of 2014, a United Nations agency report has said. According to the International Telecoms Union's (ITU) prediction, mobile phone subscriptions will pass a whopping seven billion early in 2014.
Currently, there are 6.8 billion mobile phone subscriptions while the world's population is 7.1 billion. More than a third of the global population are online, the ITU World in 2013 report also found. The Commonwealth of Independent States, the alliance of countries formerly in the Soviet Union, is believed to have the highest mobile penetration with 1.7 subscriptions for every person, the report said. Africa has the least, with 63 subscriptions per 100 people, it said.
"Every day we are moving closer to having almost as many mobile cellular subscriptions as people on Earth," said Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. "The mobile revolution is 'm-powering' people in developing countries by delivering ICT applications in education, health, government, banking, environment and business," Sanou said.
The report also found that 2.7 billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world's population, are online. Europe has the highest penetration (75 per cent), followed by the Americas (61 per cent). Asia has 32 per cent of its population online and Africa 16 per cent.
(With additional information from PTI)