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Global mobile penetration reaches 100% as the world averages 1 SIM card per person

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The world’s mobile penetration reached 100% at the end of 2015 – a statistic which means that there are as many active SIM cards as there are people on the planet.

According to data analysed by technology research firm Ovum, the latest figures on mobile penetration represent a massive leap in mobile technology’s growth. In 2005, global mobile penetration stood at 33% and over the past 10 years the number has steadily increased to reach the current milestone.

This figure, does, however, provide an aggregated view of SIM card uptake. A look at specific regions shows lower totals. According to Ovum’s data, as at December 2015, Africa’s mobile penetration stands at 82% while Central and South East Asia has the lowest rate at 79%.

The leading region for mobile penetration is Eastern Europe with 150% while all the other regions break the 100% mark. These numbers suggest a jump in SIM card use that is attributed to machines, a phenomenon that is apparent in the age of the internet of Things (IoT) According to Ovum an average of 4% of the world’s SIM cards are used to connect machines and the number is estimated to double to about 8% by 2020.

Other projections for 2020 are that African and developing Asia will come close to the 100% mobile penetration mark by that same period.

Zimbabwe’s own mobile penetration rate was registered at 92.8% in the latest report from industry regulator POTRAZ. This represents 12,394,383 active mobile subscribers. The number has been on an upward trend as mobile operators aggressively expand their markets by widening their network reach throughout the country.

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