Global mobile connections hit four billion

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Global mobile connections hit four billion

The GSM Association (GSMA) has released figures from its Wireless Intelligence unit, claiming that the global number of connections on mobile phone networks has exceeded four billion, and will reach six billion by 2013.

The GSMA said that the strong growth continues to be driven by the integration of mobile technology into previously unconnected devices, and subscriber additions in emerging markets.

Mobile connections, or dongles, which enable users to connect laptops to the internet have seen a surge in popularity, as have smartphones with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) connections.

"Industry initiatives in the areas of Mobile Broadband, Mobile Lifestyle and Mobile Planet will help drive this innovation and growth, despite the challenges of the global economic downturn," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA.

Four billion connections, however, does not directly point to four billion mobile phone users, as many people in mature mobile markets possess more than one phone or mobile device.

Equally, in the developing world, mobile phones are often shared or rented out per phone call, making it near impossible to estimate a realistic number of overall users.

With the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona getting underway next week, the GSMA, which runs the event, is keen to highlight developments in mobile broadband infrastructure and the proliferation of internet-connected mobile devices.

The organisation said that around 100 million of the four billion connections were mobile broadband connections on HSPA.

"Mobile phones have evolved to become broadband-enabled multimedia devices that connect mass markets in mature and emerging markets alike," said O'Hara. " Mobile World Congress will showcase how the industry will continue to push the boundaries into the mobile future."

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