Charting The Rise of Mobile Device Subscriptions Worldwide
There were approximately 8.6 billion mobile device subscriptions worldwide as of 2021, more than there are people on the planet.
Yet, while mobile phones, tablets, and other devices have become extremely common across the globe, access still varies greatly from country to country.
Using data from Our World in Data, this chart by Pablo Alvarez tracks the rise of mobile phones across the globe, showing the discrepancies in mobile phone subscriptions in select countries.
The Evolution of the Mobile Market
Before diving into the present-day divide, it’s worth quickly explaining how the overall cell phone market and mobile devices in general have evolved over the last three decades.
Below is a summary of the history of the mobile market since its onset in the early 90s.
The 90s and Early 2000s: The Beginning
The first mobile device hit the market in 1983, with Motorola’s launch of the DynaTAC 8000X. This clunky analog phone cost nearly $4,000 and needed to be recharged after 30 minutes of use.
By the early 1990s, innovation in the industry had somewhat taken off, with various manufacturers like Nokia and Sony starting to launch their own devices.
While this gave consumers more product options to choose from, the technology was still fairly new, and mobile adoption was relatively low compared to today’s figures.
2007 and Onwards: Apple Opens Up the Market
Though many companies introduced mobile phones, and a few launched early tablet devices like the PalmPilot (Read more…)