1.5 bln mobile subscribers globally, 310 mln in China, 44.5 mln in India, 60 mln in Russia

Mobile phone subscribers around the globe totaled nearly 1.5 bln by the middle of this year, about 25% of the world’s population, according to International Telecommunication Union. The ITU said the growth in mobile phone subscribers had outpaced that for fixed lines, who totaled some 1.185 bln today against 1 bln at the start of the century, and was also outstripping the rate of increase in Internet users.

Driving the mobile phone phenomenon was a rapid rise in subscriber numbers in three of the world’s most populous nations – China, India and Russia. And by the middle of 2004 developing countries as a whole had overtaken rich nations to account for 56% of all mobile subscribers, while accounting for 79% of growth in the market since 2000. China reported 310 mln users – about 25% of its total population. India saw an increase of 11 mln, or 25%, and reached a total of 44.5 mln subscribers. In Russia mobile phone subscriber numbers jumped from 36.5 mln a year ago to 60 mln by September of 2004.

The value of global mobile business reached $414 bln in revenues in 2003, a tenfold increase in the decade since 1993, while over the same period the overall telecommunications sector grew by an average of 8.8% to reach $1.1 trillion.