Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Smartphone news

Half the world’s population now owns a smartphone, but that is not all…

Some of you probably remember when smartphones and mobile internet were just part of some science fiction. Well, now, in a world that has witnessed a remarkable evolution in mobile technologies, the impact of smartphones takes center stage, as revealed by the latest report from GSMA, a global organization at the forefront of the mobile ecosystem. According to GSMA’s recent report on The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity (via Android Headlines), by the end of 2022, 54% of the global population, accounting for 4.3 billion individuals, owned a smartphone. Additionally, the report highlighted that 57% of the population, or 4.6 billion people, are actively using mobile internet.

Breaking down the mobile internet users, a significant portion, nearly 4 billion individuals (49% of the global population), accessed the internet through smartphones. Another segment, approximately 600 million people (8% of the global population), relied on feature phones. Interestingly, 350 million smartphone owners refrained from using mobile internet, revealing nuances in the barriers to internet adoption.

Contrary to the assumption that smartphone owners face fewer barriers, the GSMA Consumer Survey uncovered some persistent challenges. Barriers included a lack of awareness of mobile internet, perceived irrelevance, insufficient literacy and digital skills, safety and security concerns, and issues related to network coverage.

While mobile internet adoption has seen a consistent rise, the growth rate slowed in 2022, with only 200 million new users compared to 300 million in both 2021 and 2020. The majority of this growth originated from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where 95% of the unconnected population resides. In the least developed countries (LDCs), nearly 30 million additional people embraced mobile internet in 2022, translating to one in four people in LDCs being connected.

On the other hand, North America emerges as a region with 85% mobile internet coverage and 93% of individuals aged 18 and above actively using it.

Notably, 5% of the global population still lacks mobile broadband coverage, affecting almost 400 million individuals. These gaps predominantly exist in rural, poor, and sparsely populated areas, presenting significant challenges in bridging the digital divide.

Of the 3.4 billion individuals still unconnected to mobile internet, almost 90% (3 billion) reside in areas already covered by mobile broadband but do not utilize the service. While the usage gap is slowly shrinking, from 40% in 2021 to 38% in 2022, it remains almost eight times the size of the coverage gap.

Delving into more specifics, at the end of 2022, 69% of smartphones used by mobile internet users were 4G-enabled, 17% were 5G-enabled, and 14% were limited to 3G, marking a notable decline from 31% in 2018.

On top of all these numbers (I love numbers and hope you do, too!), recent research revealed that the world’s latest top 10 best-selling smartphone list includes four iPhones and six Samsungs.


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