areppim chart and statistics of mobile penetration rates 1980-2023. With 7.4 billion subscribers by the end of 2016, 99.6% of the world population currently hold a subscription to mobile cellular telephony. The market penetration of the device grew exponentially, at an annual average rate of 53.8%, much faster than the population, until 2008, when it reached the inflection point. Thereafter, it initiated a steady decline, at the comparatively low annual average growth rate of 6.88% for the period 2009 to 2016, slowly approaching final saturation.

With 7.4 billion subscribers by the end of 2016, 99.6% of the world population currently hold a subscription to mobile cellular telephony. The market penetration of the device grew exponentially, at an annual average rate of 53.8%, much faster than the population, until 2008, when it reached the inflection point. Thereafter, it initiated a steady decline, at the comparatively low annual average growth rate of 6.88% for the period 2009 to 2016, slowly approaching final saturation.

According to areppim's most recent forecast, market saturation may occur at 8 billion subscriptions, somewhere around 2020. The straight red line of the chart (Fisher-Pry normalization of the logistic curve, rendering it a straight line) clearly shows the fast growth of cellular phones to saturation level, with the midpoint in 2008, and a current penetration of 93%. From now on, further growth will mostly be commanded by sheer population growth or alternatively by a technology quantum leap capable of taking the world out of the strict cellular phone paradigm — International Telecommunications Union (ITU) seems to consider that mobile broadband Internet services can do it.

Mobile Cellular Phones
Global Market Penetration
1980 - 2023

Year

World population

Actual

Forecast¹

(million)Subscribers (million)Percent of populationSubscribers (million)Percent of populationPercent market saturation
19804,4490.020.001%1.070.02%0.01%
19814,5280.060.001%1.480.03%0.02%
19824,6090.100.002%2.030.04%0.03%
19834,6920.150.003%2.790.06%0.03%
19844,7760.320.01%3.830.08%0.05%
19854,8640.750.02%5.270.11%0.07%
19864,9531.450.03%7.250.15%0.09%
19875,0452.550.05%100.20%0.12%
19885,1384.330.08%140.27%0.17%
19895,2307.350.14%190.36%0.24%
19905,321110.21%260.49%0.32%
19915,409160.30%350.66%0.44%
19925,495230.42%490.89%0.61%
19935,579340.61%671.20%0.84%
19945,661560.99%921.62%1.15%
19955,742911.6%1252.18%1.57%
19965,8211452.5%1712.94%2.14%
19975,8992153.6%2343.96%2.92%
19985,9753185.3%3185.32%3.98%
19996,0514908.1%4317.12%5.39%
20006,12873812.0%5819.48%7.26%
20016,20496115.5%77712.53%9.72%
20026,2811,15718.4%1,03116.42%12.89%
20036,3581,41722.3%1,35221.27%16.91%
20046,4361,76327.4%1,74927.17%21.86%
20056,5142,20533.9%2,22234.11%27.78%
20066,5932,74541.6%2,76741.97%34.60%
20076,6733,36850.5%3,36850.47%42.11%
20086,7544,03059.7%4,00059.22%50.00%
20096,8354,64067.9%4,63167.76%57.89%
20106,9165,29076.5%5,23275.64%65.40%
20116,9985,86383.8%5,77782.55%72.22%
20127,0806,23288.0%6,25088.28%78.14%
20137,1626,66693.1%6,64792.80%83.09%
20147,2447,00696.7%6,96896.19%87.11%
20157,3257,21698.5%7,22298.59%90.28%
2016 ²7,4057,37799.6%7,418100.18%92.74%
20177,484  7,568101.12%94.61%
20187,563  7,681101.56%96.02%
20197,640  7,765101.64%97.08%
20207,717  7,828101.44%97.86%
20217,792  7,874101.04%98.43%
20227,867  7,907100.52%98.85%
20237,940  7,93299.90%99.16%
Annual average growth, 1980-2008 actual: 53.8%.
Annual average growth, 2009-2016 actual: 6.88%
Annual average growth, 1980-2013 forecast: 3.92%
¹ Logistic growth function
² ITU's estimates.

 

Source: ITU International Telecommunications Union

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