Mobile subscriptions have been boosted by the sales of low-cost devices in Asia and India / REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Around 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of the year - just short of the Earth's 7.1 billion population

There will enough mobile phone subscriptions to connect almost every single person on the planet by the end of 2013, it is predicted.

The prediction is part of the latest annual report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN agency responsible for looking into the world’s ICT issues. The ITU projects that there will be around 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of the year, not falling too far short of the 7.1 billion people on the planet.

It is also suggested in the report that around 2.7 billion people will have readily available internet access by 2014, with fixed-broadband prices plummeting by 81% in more than 160 countries.

However, there are an estimated 1.1 billion households worldwide that are not yet connected to the internet.  There is an encouraging upwards trend though, with the number of households in the developing world with internet access increasing by 16%.

There are also statistics on the world’s “digital natives” – in other words, people aged 15-24 who have 5 or more years of digital experience.  

Around 30% of the world’s youth are considered to be digital natives, which equates to around 363 million people. The prediction is that the digital native population is set to more than double in the next 5 years.