El Segundo, Calif. – The total number of worldwide
subscriptions for wireless services is expected to reach 5 billion this month,
equaling 73.4% of the world’s population, according to a report from market
research firm iSuppli.

The firm notes that that number includes everything from
low-end handsets to smartphones, and includes several hundred million
subscriptions that come from users with multiple SIM cards, and handsets used
in machine-to-machine communications systems.

By region, penetration ranges
from 50% on the low end in Africa and the Middle East, to 157.6% in Western
Europe — where consumers frequently have multiple subscriptions and phones.

"If the importance of an event can be measured by the number of people it
affects, then the proliferation of wireless communications stands out as one of
the most significant phenomena in the history of technology," said Dr.
Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for wireless research at

"Wireless communication now has spread to every nation, every age
and every income level, becoming a basic staple like food, clothing and


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