Global mobile phone ownership: the haves and have-nots by region

While almost every adult in Italy has two phones at their disposal, up to five people in Africa share the same device.

An infograph put together by mobile maker Nokia with recently released data from the International Telecommunications Union shows the mobile ownership divide around the globe.

In Europe, mobile ownership is high with 13 mobiles for every ten people (or one mobile phone subscription for every 0.8 people).

"Once you take away the very young and the very old from the equation, that means a very large number of people with either two phones, or a data dongle, or a GPS-system that requires a SIM, or maybe tablet computers," said Nokia in a March 29 blog post.

It's a very different story in Africa; for every ten people there are only around 4 phones which equates to around one SIM subscription for every 2.4 people. However, the aggregated data paints a somewhat rosy picture of the mobile phone distribution throughout the country. Mobile phone penetration is much less in Africa's poorer, rural areas.

"Having the data for very large regions means that the extremes of mobile penetration rates don't register quite so dramatically as they would on a country-by-country basis," clarified Nokia.

"There's clearly going to be a lot of difference between the number of mobiles per person in New York and Asuncion in Paraguay across The Americas; or between Dubai and Khartoum among the Arab States, but an averaged figure doesn't show that."

According to the World Bank's World Development Indicators, 60.84 percent of the world's total population had a mobile phone subscription in 2008.

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