Number of Mobile Subscribers Worldwide Hits 5 Billion: GMSA

Some 5 billion unique subscribers are now connected to a mobile service worldwide, representing two-thirds of the global population, according to real time data from GSMA Intelligence.

As of Tuesday morning, GSMA Intelligence’s mobile tracker calculated there were just over 5,006,489,000 individuals with mobile connections. It’s important to note that this figure is specifically counting unique subscribers rather than mobile connections. The latter figure is higher – standing at around 7.7 billion, excluding M2M connections – since a “unique subscriber” as defined by GSMA can have multiple connections or SIM cards.

“Reaching the 5 billion subscriber milestone is a tremendous achievement for an industry that is only a few decades old, and reflects the many billions of dollars that mobile operators have invested in networks, services and spectrum over many years,” commented Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

“Today mobile is a truly global platform, delivering connectivity and, perhaps more importantly, social and economic opportunities to citizens in all corners of the world,” he continued. “This massive reach allows the mobile industry to be a key player in delivering global initiatives such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

It has taken four years to add the latest 1 billion subscribers, driven by the Asia Pacific region, which now accounts for more than half (55 percent) of mobile subscribers and the world’s two largest mobile markets: China and India. China accounts for more than a billion of the world’s subscribers, while India accounts for 730 million, said GSMA.

GSMA indicated more than half (55 percent) of global subscribers are in the Asia Pacific region, while Europe, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa each account for around 9 percent of unique subscribers. North America is farther down the list with around 6 percent of the global subscriber base.

Overall, unique global mobile subscribers will increase to 5.7 billion by the end of the decade, representing almost 75 percent of the world population, according to the GSMA Intelligence forecast.