The world’s mobile carrier club, the GSM Association, said on Tuesday the number of GSM users worldwide had reached 2 billion, or just over 30 per cent of the world’s population.
The Association said new users are signing up at the rate of 1,000 per minute – or around 18 per second.
Craig Ehrlich, Chairman of the GSMA said in a statement: “While it took just 12 years for the industry to reach the first billion connections. The second billion has been achieved in just two and a half years boosted by the phenomenal take up of mobile in emerging markets such as China, India, Africa and Latin America, which accounted for 82 per cent of the second billion subscribers.”
Mobile services based on GSM technology were first launched in Finland in 1991. Today, more than 690 mobile networks provide GSM services across 213 countries and GSM represents 82.4 per cent of all global mobile connections.
China is the largest single GSM market in the world today, with more than 370 million users, followed by Russia with 145 million, India with 83 million and the USA with 78 million users. In India, mobile has even become the fastest selling consumer product – pushing bicycles to the number two spot.