Mobile revolution to empower the world by 2014

by Sohini Bagchi    May 13, 2013

mobile rev

The number of mobile phone subscriptions is expected to outnumber the world’s population by the end of 2014, according to a United Nations agency report. The International Telecoms Union (ITU) has predicted that mobile phone subscriptions will exceed a whopping seven billion early in 2014. At present, there are 6.8 billion mobile phone subscriptions while the world’s population is 7.1 billion.

The report also revealed that 2.7 billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, have access to the Internet. Europe has the highest penetration at 75 per cent, followed by the US, having 61 per cent of its population online. Asia and Africa have 32 per cent and Africa 16 per cent of its population online respectively. The proliferation of the Web will continue to drive the mobile growth and adoption across the world, believe experts.

The mobile revolution is ‘m-powering’ people in developing countries by delivering ICT applications in education, health, government, banking, environment and business
-Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

The Commonwealth of Independent States, the alliance of countries formerly in the Soviet Union, is believed to have the highest mobile penetration with 1.7 subscriptions for every person, whereas Africa has the least, with 63 subscriptions per 100 people, it said.

“Every day we are moving closer to having almost as many mobile cellular subscriptions as people on Earth. The mobile revolution is ‘m-powering’ people in developing countries by delivering ICT applications in education, health, government, banking, environment and business,” Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau told PTI.

“The need for increased connectivity has changed the way enterprises and end-users communicate and in the next few years, connectivity will be present everywhere - in all the devices we use in our daily lives,” says Amitabh Ray, Senior VP- Ericsson India Global Services. He believes what’s driving the mobility market is the ever-increasing mobile subscriber base, enhanced telecom infrastructure and introduction and adoption of sophisticated mobile devices such as smartphones, PDA’s and tablets.

Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that tablets such as the iPad, which are revolutionizing the way we consume our information, will reach 1 billion users by 2015. Smartphones will also reach more than 2.5 billion around that time and its adoption will continue to surge in the enterprise.

“The mobile revolution will also boost newer and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, social networking, Unified Communication (UC), enterprise apps as well as advanced mobile security solutions. This will enable enterprises to look at information technology from a unique perspective so as to increase productivity and agility,” says Jaideep Ghosh, Executive Director - KPMG.

The mobile phenomenon will be successful only when more lives are touched in a meaningful way.
-Jaideep Ghosh, Executive Director of KPMG

While on one hand, surge in mobile device will offer newer capabilities to reshape business models, empower employees, improve collaboration and consumer satisfaction, the ITU report also indicates that the huge proliferation of mobile subscriptions demand greater attention to mobile security, compliance and manageability of mobile devices and applications that are constantly susceptible to threat.

According to Anand Naik of Symantec, “With the increase in mobile usage especially the bring your own devices (BYOD) trend that is set to unleash a deluge of new security threats, enterprises will have to invest considerably in security solutions and practices such mobile device management (MDM) and mobile applications management (MAM) as well as approach a trusted security vendor to safeguard their corporate data and network. 

With businesses and end-users increasingly owning mobile devices, there is an increased opportunity for businesses in every industry vertical such as banking, healthcare, retail, insurance, hospitality – both in government and private services to connect to their customers in an innovative manner. The mobile proliferation will also bring exciting opportunities for OEMs, solution providers and partners to cater to this evergrowing market, creating a strong mobile ecosystem to cater to the global population. As Ghosh comments, “The mobile phenomenon will be successful only when more lives are touched in a meaningful way.”

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