There’s almost as many mobile subscriptions as people on Earth, but 3.9 billion remain offline.
Forty-seven percent of the world’s population is online, according to a new report from the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
At this point, there are almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions around the world as there are people on Earth. But that doesn’t everyone on the planet has a mobile phone, since many people have multiple subscriptions or devices.
The offline population — some 3.9 billion people around the world — is “disproportionately female, elderly, less educated, lower income and rural,” the report notes.
But with the resources and desire, almost everyone could be connected. Ninety-five percent of the global population lives in an area that is covered by a mobile cell signal. But while most people have access to Internet services, many don’t actually use them, largely due to high prices.
“To bring more people online, it is important to focus on reducing overall socio-economic inequalities,” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said in a statement. “Education and income levels are strong determinants of whether or not people use the internet.”
Those with higher levels of education are also getting more out of the internet. They use advanced services including e-commerce and online banking, where as those with lower levels of education and income, primarily use the Internet for communication and entertainment.
“This suggests that many people are yet to benefit fully from the opportunities brought by the Internet,” the agency said.
The report also points out that many people around the world still don’t own or use a mobile phone. In developing countries, close to 20 percent of the population, on average, doesn’t have one.