4 bn cellphone users by end of 2008: UN

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New York, Sep 26: With rapid development of economy, UN has reported to have said that there would be four billion cellphone users by the end of this year. Rapidly developing economies like India, Brazil, Russia and China are driving the growth in the number of cellular phone subscribers, with these nations alone accounting for over 1.3 billion of them by the end of 2008, the UN was informed on Friday, Sep 26. The number of mobile cellular subscribers worldwide will reach the 4 billion mark by the end of 2008, the head of the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has announced.

The number of subscribers has surged nearly 25 per cent annually during the past eight years from 12 per cent in 2000 and will reach over 60 per cent by the end of 2008, he said.

''The fact that 4 billion subscribers have been registered worldwide indicates that it is technically feasible to connect the world to the benefits of the information and communication technology (ICT) and that it is a visible business opportunity,'' ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said here yesterday at a high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

''Clearly, ICTs have the potential to act as catalysts to achieve the 2015 targets of the MDGs,'' he added.

The ITU emphasised the need to carefully interpret the data. A 61 per cent penetration rate does not mean in reality that every other person in the world is using a mobile phone, rather, the statistics reflect the number of subscriptions, not people.

Double counting could occur if people have multiple cellular subscriptions, while some could be sharing their phone with others.

The agency also cautioned that penetration rates vary by region and even within countries.

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