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World Bank study says 75 per cent now have a mobile

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More mobiles for developing countries

A World Bank report has revealed that three quarters of the population now has access to a mobile phone.

At the turn of the millennium, there were less than one billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, and 71 per cent of these were in high-income countries. Fast forward twelve years, and subscriptions have risen to six billion.

According to the study, this increase can largely be put down to the emergence of mobile phones in developing countries, with 77 per cent of today’s subscriptions taken by people living in those areas.

Mobile phones passed landline usage figures in 2002, and since then this upward trend has continued to rise sharply, with the report predicting there will be more mobile subscriptions than people on the planet by 2015, as people take out multiple deals.

How people use their phones to help themselves

Having established that more people are in possession of a phone, the report goes on to look at the way in which people use their device.

There are significantly fewer smartphones in these regions, so many of the apps they use operate effectively on basic systems such as WAP or SMS. The following are just two examples included in the report:

In Palestine, the Souktel JobMatch service has been helping college graduates find better jobs faster. Users have indicated that they can now find a job in less than a week in some cases, whereas before the search could last around three months. They also revealed a rise in starting salary of up to 50 per cent.

And citizens in the Indian state of Kerala now enjoy greater communication with their local politicians thanks to the mGovernment programme, a series of 20 apps that have reportedly generated 3 million interactions since launching in December 2010.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: “This report makes it clear how important mobile technology has become all over the world. The way people are using their phone to help achieve a better quality of life is heartening to see, and could lead to even greater innovation in the future once smartphones spread to developing regions.”

Written by James Riches

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