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One billion smartphones and six billion subscriptions worldwide

For the first time ever, the number of smartphones in use worldwide surpassed the one billion mark, according to findings from Strategy Analytics. Additionally, the number of mobile phone subscriptions reaches six billion, says research from International Telecommunication Union.

Since the first modern smartphone, the Nokia 9000 Communicator in 1996, it has taken 16 years for the amount of smartphones in use to exceed one billion units.

The report from Strategy Analytics suggests that by the third quarter of 2011, 708 million smartphones were in use worldwide. This increased to a new historic milestone of 1.038 billion during the third quarter of 2012. Although this number is considered high, “Most of the world does not yet own a smartphone and there remains huge scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa”.

One billion smartphones worldwide equates to about one in seven people owning a smartphone.

Although it has taken 16 years to reach this point, Strategy Analytics predicts “the next billion to be achieved in less than three years, by 2015.”

Nokia Lumia in pocket

While one billion smartphones in use worldwide is great news, the report from International Telecommunication Union shares an even more exciting statistic.

At the end of 2011, the number of mobile phone subscriptions reached six billion.

This number alone is an impressive feat, but when you consider that the world population is currently estimated to be just under seven billion (according to The World Bank), it won’t be long before that comparatively short divide closes up with the possibility of subscriptions surpassing the population figure.

Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone is connected. The six billion figure is substantially connected to people in the developed world possessing two or more phones, or connected tablets and GPS systems.

However, the most recent leaps forward, between 2010 and 2011, mobile phone subscriptions increased by more than 600 million, with the majority of them in the developing world.

China has the most subscriptions at 1 billion, with India expected to hit the same number in by the end of 2012.

image credit: FutUndBeidi and twicepix