Mobile Phones Now Outnumber Humans?

A survey has revealed that there are more mobile SIM card connections than there are human beings on the face of the planet. There are 7.230 billion active SIM cards against a human population of 7.125 billion giving us a ratio of almost 1 to 1.

But this is not the case; not every person has a SIM, in fact, it’s more like 2 SIM cards to every phone user as he number of mobile phone subscribers stands at 3.6 billion.

Even a 1:2 ratio would not be an accurate reflection of reality as it has been found that there are 250 million SIM connections that are not used by human beings in the world.

With the rate of SIM activations and mobile phone sales seemingly keeping up with the growth rate of the human population (which stands at 2 people per second), you would think GSM companies would be laughing all the way to the bank.

While there have been crazy profits, things appear to be slowing down. Sales are still good but less money is being made from calls and SMS messaging thanks to applications such as Skype and WhatsApp which allow people to communicate for free.

GSMA Intelligence reveals that the revenue of these companies around the world totted up to a calculator-wrecking $1.13 trillion.

This represents a jump of more than 3% from last year’s figures. However, profit figures were down significantly thanks largely to the above mentioned free services.

So the question that begs is who is responsible for the proliferation of SIM cards? Is it the rich guy who can afford to have one in his second and third phone, and iPad? Or is it the guy struggling to make ends meet in the developing world who owns many SIM cards which he slips into his one phone to take advantage of different offers? The numbers indicate that there is a little bit of both.

Smartphone penetration in the developed world are almost clocking 8 for every 10 people. The figure is lower in the developing nations, but only just, at about 60%.

The main reason behind this is that mobile users in the developed countries typically hold more than one device, each with its own SIM card. Most of them will have a smartphone and a tablet, for instance.

The figures for SIM connection penetration are bound to go up as the billions without access to a phone finally get connected.

I am the Editor of with over 10 years of experience in mobile phones and online publishing.