3.3 billion mobile accounts: 1 for every 2 earthlings

Somewhere on the planet today someone will skip over pages of fine print they will later regret not reading - and thumb their nose at the risk of a phone exploding - in order to sign a mobile services contract that will bring the worldwide number of such accounts to 3.3 billion, a figure roughly equal to half the Earth's population.

Can't you just see the balloons and confetti falling on some startled AT&T customer in Ottumwa, Iowa?

Announcing this milestone with such remarkable precision are the industry analysts at Informa Telecoms and Media, who in their press release also provide a treasure trove of interesting facts and trivia regarding the mobile-phone revolution:

-- In 1987, only 35 countries hosted mobile-phone networks, a figure that had risen to 192 a decade later and today stands at 224.

-- Ten percent of the world's population remains uncovered by a mobile network, while 40 percent are covered but remain unconnected, including my father, which should surprise no one given that he doesn't even have an ATM card.

-- That 3.3 billion figure does not mean that half the people on the planet are packing cell phones. The reason is that so many individuals have identified a need to have more than one account at a time: 59 countries tally more accounts than people, according to these analysts.

-- On the other hand, 27 counties with networks have subscriber penetrations below 10 percent.

As for the figures only a carrier executive could love - Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) - the numbers are all over the map:

-- On the high end, Kuwaiti operator Zain reports a monthly ARPU of $71, followed by Hutchison Whampoa's UK operations at $70.55 and Q-Tel in Qatar with $69.

-- On the lower side, there is Hutchison's Sri Lankan operator at $2.83 and Bangladesh's CityCell brand at $2.98.

Hey, where can I get me one of those Sri Lankan plans?

Welcome regulars and passersby. Here are a few more recent Buzzblog items. And, if you'd like to receive Buzzblog via e-mail newsletter, here's where to sign up.

BSA, software giants target little guys most often.

Fired Microsoft CIO lands new gig.

Can the geek press handle a Microsoft sex scandal?

Lifesaving Verizon workers pull company's backside out of the fire.

Hacking for better grades gets 4 preppies bounced from elite school in Mass.

This year's "25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries."

When the patient is a Googler and the doctor is a pompous jerk.

10 reasons you shouldn't believe in UFOs.

Cell phone jamming on the rise.

Researchers turn to xkcd for direction.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey 2021: The results are in