A study released by the GSMA reveals that currently, there are 5.9 billion active mobile “connections” excluding M2M and inactive SIM cards across the world. In India, the percentage of rural mobile penetration is 39%, and approximately half a billion people in the country’s rural areas are unconnected to mobile networks.
Of 3.2 billion people, 46% of the world’s total population of 7 billion, have at least one active mobile device. That translates to an average of 1.85 SIM cards per user (link). In India there are 900 million mobile connections, however these are in the hands of just 300 million people. In developing markets like India SIM per user patterns are influenced by cost-conscious, low-usage consumers who tend to accumulate prepaid SIM cards depending on the latest and most affordable prepaid tariffs.
At present, total mobile penetration in India stands at 76% with only 26% unique subscriber penetration. The GSMA estimates that India’s mobile-subscriber base will grow by more than 23% in next 5 years. Earlier according to a report released by World Bank in July, in India there were 70 mobile subscribers out of every 100 people, and a whopping 96% were of the mobile users are prepaid customers. 83% of the Indian households have a mobile connection and they use on average 330 minutes per month.
Across the other developing regions, Africa has the lowest penetration. Just one in three people on the continent subscribe to mobile services. Penetration in Asia stands at 40%, which is expected to rise 49% by 2017, boosted by its biggest market China and India.