By end 2013 there will be 6.8 billion total mobile-cellular subscriptions – almost as many as there are people on the planet.
An estimated 2.7 billion people will also be connected to the Internet – though speeds and prices vary widely, both across and within regions.
Mobile broadband connections over 3G and 3G+ networks are growing at an average annual rate of 40 per cent, equating to 2.1 billion mobile-broadband subscriptions and a global penetration rate of almost 30 per cent. Almost 50 per cent of all people worldwide are now covered by a 3G network.ITU: 40 pct of the World Online; 4.4 Billion People Unconnected [itu.int]
Color me dubious. (1.4)^5 = multiplying by 5+ every five years, or almost 30 in 10 years = about three and a half years to cover the planet if the starting point is 30%. How long have they been tracking this statistic?
I think I now know one other person who doesn't have a cell phone. And she doesn't even own a computer.
In many parts of the world people do not carry proper documents and such records are not kept. There is a huge push going on right now in India to get everyone documented, finger printed and photographed but countries like Africa will take generations before everyone is documented and recorded. Until then there is no way to 'track' everyone and I think everyone will be tracked long before everyone gets online.
They are building a tracking system that does not rely on the person being connected to the internet, though it helps. They do this by accumulating many sources of data, right down to your own payment activities, traffic cams and mall security etc. You can't even get cash from your bank without the bill numbers being recorded anymore.
Source: W5 documentary on TV :) I'm sure the level is somehow much more sophisticated than any of us can imagine.
You can't even get cash from your bank without the bill numbers being recorded anymore.
They certainly haven't gone that far over here and I seriously doublt that US banks have the technology, or the time, to record every used bill that passes backwards and forwards across their counters.
Back to the OP the number of mobile subscriptions is a poor measure as PAYG SIM cards are so prevelant. I know that there are two old SIMs somewhere in my house with credit on them as well as my phone and the dongle for my laptop.