Half of the world’s population will use mobile devices to access internet by 2020, according to a forecast by GSMA, a global GSM body. Currently, 2.2 billion people have access to mobile phones and internet.
“It is calculated that there were 2.2 billion mobile internet subscribers in 2013, representing approximately 30 percent of the global population. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that an additional 1.6 billion citizens worldwide will become mobile internet users over the next six years, bringing the total number to 3.8 billion, or around half of the world’s expected population in 2020,” said the report by GSMA.
“Our new findings underline how mobile is now the gateway to the internet for billions of citizens across the world and will be responsible for connecting millions of currently ‘offline’ global citizens to the internet in the years to 2020 and beyond,” said GSMA director general Anne Bouverot.
In sub-Saharan Africa, just 17 percent of the population were mobile internet subscribers in 2013, but penetration is forecast to increase to 37 percent by 2020.
“Many users in the developing world still access the mobile internet via 2G connections – over 60 percent do so in sub-Saharan Africa. However, a rapid technology migration is currently underway towards mobile broadband (3G/4G) internet,” the report said.
In 2013, 900 million of the 2.2 billion mobile internet subscribers connected via 2G, while 1.3 billion connected via mobile broadband.
By 2020, it is forecast that of the 3.8 billion total mobile internet users globally, the number of 2G mobile internet subscribers will shrink to 800 million and mobile broadband internet users will have more than doubled to reach 3 billion.