The world will have 5.3 billion mobile phone subscribers by the end of 2010, the International Telecommunications Union has predicted in a new report, publicised at its annual conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The report said that mobile phone networks are already available to over 90 per cent of the world's population. Mobile phone penetration in developed countries is 68 per cent, a saturation level higher than any previous technology.
Internet access is also exploding, the report found. The number of internet users has doubled over the past five years and will reach 2 billion by the end of 2010. An estimated 1.6 billion people have home internet access, up from 1.4 billion people at the end of 2009.
But there's still a huge gulf between the first and third worlds.
By the end of 2010, 71 per cent of the population in developed countries will be online by the end of 2010, compared to 21 percent of the population in developing countries.
While in developed countries 65 per cent of people have access to the Internet at home, this is the case for only 13.5 per cent of people in developing countries where Internet access in schools, at work and public locations is critical.
Regional differences are significant: 65 per cent of Europeans are on the Internet, compared to only 9.6 per cent of Africans.