How many mobiles do we need?

It is reasonably well known that despite widespread poverty and reliance on subsistence agriculture, growth in the uptake and use of mobile phones in Africa is the fastest in the world.

The opportunity to bypass the clunky fixed line option that you must wait months to have connected by going mobile has been too good to miss. Pay as you go options with tiny recharge amounts to cope with the cost just made it even easier.

All over the world and in just a few decades every man and his dog has acquired a mobile phone.

A recent report has aggregated the consequences of this inevitable trend.

The headline figure is that the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth by the end of 2012. And well worth a headline. Quite staggering really that we already have enough mobile devices to go around everyone.

More telling was the prediction that by 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita. That year, there will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules.

Pause a moment on the notion that having sufficient mobile enabled devices in circulation for one each, even though there are 7 billion of us, is not enough.

One device obviously does not cut it.

What this means is that once we have one, most likely we will get one, two, maybe several more.

Staying in touch has always meant a lot to us and, whatever way we look at it, we are a social species.  It looks like that instinct to stay on touch or to feel that we are able to connect is very important indeed – important enough to part with the funds to hire or buy multiple devices.

It may not be too late to invest in telecoms shares.

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