More than four billion mobile phone users world...

07/08/2009 - More than four billion mobile phone users worldwide

  • Two-thirds of the world population use mobile phones
  • Strong growth in newly industrialized countries
  • Mobile data services winning through in Europe, Japan and the USA

Berlin, August 7, 2009

The number of mobile phone users worldwide will this year exceed the 4 billion mark for the first time. This according to the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO), who report that the number of mobile phone users will rise from 3.9 billion in 2008 to 4.4 billion in 2009. This is the equivalent to an increase of 12 percent. This means that two-thirds of the world population use a mobile phone. “The strongest growth in the use of mobile phones now comes from newly industrialized and developing countries”, says EITO chairman Bruno Lamborghini. The number of mobile phone users in India is expected to increase by 32 percent in the year 2009 to 457 million. In Brazil, the number of mobile phone users will rise by 14 percent to 172 million and in China by 12 percent to 684 million.


In industrialized countries, growth rates are considerably smaller. This is due to the fact that levels of mobile phone use are already high. In the European Union, EITO predicts that the number of mobile phone accounts will increase by 4 percent to 641 million in 2009. Thus, in the EU, there are considerably more mobile contracts than inhabitants. “In Europe, the USA and Japan, the trend is for high-quality multimedia mobiles with Internet access”, says Lamborghini. The number of UMTS accounts in the EU will increase by 36 percent to around 172 million in 2009, while the number of conventional accounts on the basis of so-called GSM technology will decrease by 5 percent to 469 million. Turnover in the area of mobile data services is also growing strongly in the EU and will increase by 10 percent to around € 33 billion in 2009. In the UK, the number of UMTS accounts will increase by 40 percent to around 33 million according to EITO estimates. Thus two thirds of the around 81 million mobile phone accounts in the UK are UMTS-capable. In Italy the total number of mobile phone accounts will increase in 2009 by 2 percent to around 93 million, 31 million will be UMTS-capable (plus 26 percent). A similar picture emerges in the USA. It is estimated that the number of UMTS users there will increase by 74 percent to 108 million this year. The number of conventional GSM accounts will decrease by 7 percent to 177 million. The Japanese are the forerunners when it comes to mobile data use. In Japan, 90 percent of all mobile phones are already connected to fast third-generation data networks.


Since 1993, the European Information Technology Observatory ( offers high quality and up-to-date information on European and global markets for information technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics. The EITO is managed by Bitkom Research GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of BITKOM, the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media in Germany. EITO collaborates with leading market research institutes including IDATE, IDC and GfK, and research activities of the EITO Task Force are supported by the European Commission and the OECD. EITO is sponsored by CeBIT, Deutsche Telekom, KPMG, Messe München, and Telecom Italia.

Maurice Shahd, EITO Press Spokesman,   

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