There are now 5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, according to data released Tuesday from GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA.
More than half of mobile subscribers are based in the Asia Pacific region. Within that region, China leads the way with more than a billion of the world's subscribers. India is not far behind with 730 million, according to a GSMA press release. But Europe has the biggest mobile penetration, with 86% of citizens in Europe subscribed to a mobile service. North America has 80%.
GSMA Intelligence data shows the subscribers reaching 1 billion in 2003. "Reaching the 5 billion subscriber milestone is a tremendous achievement for an industry that is only a few decades old," Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said in the press release. GSMA predicts the number of mobile subscribers will increase to 5.7 billion by the end of the decade.
That means more than two-thirds of the world is now connected to a mobile service, and there's no sign of a slowdown.
For the enterprise, it's a reminder about the importance of meeting people where they are. Using mobile tech to shop or conduct business has become second nature for much of the world's population. Enterprises therefore need to ensure all aspects of the business are mobile-enabled, or risk losing business.
On the flip side, businesses also need to ensure they are building the mobile apps that enable employees to better perform their jobs. Currently that is not the case. A recent survey from Gartner found that despite increasing demand for enterprise mobile apps, more than a quarter of enterprises globally have not built, customized or virtualized any mobile apps over the last year.