Monday, February 15, 2010

Mobile subscription to hit 5bn by Dec 2010 - ITU

Remmy Nweke in Barcelona, Spain

The 2010 edition of the took off Monday in Barcelona Spain with the global telecommunications regulator, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) predicting an increase in the mobile phone subscription worldwide to be five billion before the end of this year.

ITRealms Online recalls that in 2009 the record was about 4.6 billion as at December.
Making this prediction at the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Monday, the Secretary General of ITU, Dr. Dr Hamadoun Touré, expressed confidence that the estimated growth is attainable given the indexes of recent past, especially 2009.

According to him, ITU expects the number of mobile cellular subscriptions globally to reach five billion in 2010, influenced by advanced services and handsets in developed countries and increased take-up of mobile health services as well as mobile banking in most developing parts of the world.

Touré also noted that despite the global meltdown there has not been decline in mobile uptake.

"… And I am confident that we will continue to see a rapid uptake in mobile cellular services in particular in 2010, with many more people using their phones to access the internet," he declared.

He pointed out that ITU expects to see the number of mobile broadband subscriptions exceeding one billion globally during 2010, having topped 600 million by the end of 2009.

He stressed that with current growth rates, web access by people on the move through laptops and smart mobile devices are likely to exceed web access from desktop computers within the next five years.

"Even the simplest, low-end mobile can do so much to improve healthcare in the developing world," he said.

Dr Touré equally cited instance with the avalanche of Short Messaging Service (SMS) through which patient's could be reminded by phone when they have a medical appointment, or need a pre-natal check-up.

"Even using SMS to deliver instructions on when and how to take complex medication such as anti-retroviral or vaccines. It's such a simple thing to do, and yet it saves millions of dollars and could help improve and save the lives of millions of people," he asserted.

On mobile banking, he said that rapid growth in mobile cellular subscriptions has paved the way and an indication that there are now large numbers of people worldwide, especially in developing countries, which have a mobile phone subscription but no bank account, which entails that increasingly, subscribers will be using their phones to access banking service.


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