plastic roaming

Counting Mobile Phones, SIM Cards and Customers

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jun 29, 2010
Counting Mobile Phones, SIM Cards and Customers data sheet 2148 Views
Sutherland, Ewan
Publication Date: 
Apr 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The GMSA reports that the mobile subscriptions worldwide is at 3 billion (2008) with 270 million subscriptions in Africa at the end of 2007. This policy paper considers the challenges faced by public policy makers in understanding the true number of individuals with mobile access.  There are many reasons why customers might have more than one phone, phone number or SIM card, which results in the double-counting of customers. As a result, it is difficult to assume that the number telephone numbers or SIM cards translates into individual customers. The author discusses the issue of ambiguity in the estimates of mobile teledensity as an indicator for the MDGs and the subsequent challenge for public policy makers in interpreting the large numbers and how they reflect the reality of their countries, cities, towns and villages. Case studies in Bulgaria and South Africa are presented.