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Europe #1 in Per Capita Cell Phone Usage.
USA Leads in PC and Internet Per Capita Use.

February 28, 2006 -
USA has traditionally been the leader when new high-tech products and services are introduced. The table below shows the per capita usage trends from 1990 with projections for 2010 for three technologies: cell phone usage, Internet users and PCs in-use. The table shows that the USA was initially the leader in all three technologies, but was surpassed by W. Europe in cellular subscribers per capita by 2000.

Many W. European countries currently have more cellular subscribers than people and the whole region will reach this threshold by 2009. Several Asian countries also have more cellular subscribers than people. However, it is important to realize that many countries that use the GSM technology have an inflated subscriber number per capita. This is due to the use of multiple SIM cards by many GSM subscribers. Multiple SIM cards are used to lower the usage costs. By switching between SIM cards, the cell phone user can lower roaming costs when traveling in foreign country. SIM cards are also used to switch between carriers to take advantage of rate changes by day of the week or hours. Even with multi SIM card usage, W. Europe is clearly the leader in cellular subscribers per capita.

Information Technology Usage Trends

  1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Cellular Subscribers Per 1,000 People:          
USA (#) 21.2 127 388 683 946
W. Europe (#) 9.1 60 634 930 1,008
Asia-Pacific (#) 0.4 7.1 71 230 379
Worldwide (#) 2.1 15.6 123 319 478
Internet Users Per 1,000 People:           
USA (#) 7.2 105 477 668 839
W. Europe (#) 0.5 22 244 535 788
Asia-Pacific (#) 0.03 1.2 34 116 193
Worldwide (#) 0.4 7.9 69 167 262
PCs In-Use Per 1,000 People:          
USA (#) 192 321 628 778 932
W. Europe (#) 69 158 330 543 755
Asia-Pacific (#) 4.8 14.6 39 75 118
Worldwide (#) 18.6 40 87 140 201

The table shows that the PC was the first high-volume information technology device. But due to high price of PCs, the mass usage primarily took place in the industrialized countries of the world. Internet usage was at first primarily based on PC availability, but multiple users per PC became common—especially in the developing countries. PC-based Internet usage will remain important in the future, but Internet access via cell phones and Smartphones will become increasingly important. Cellular Internet usage will be particularly important in developing countries where the price of PCs is too high for most households. 

These are some of the results from three new market research reports by eTForecasts. One report has PCs and mobile PCs-in-use estimates for 57 countries and six regions of the world from 1990 to 2005 and projection for 2006-2010. A second report has Internet user and broadband subscriber estimates and forecasts for the same countries and regions. The third report estimates cellular subscribers and phone lines in use for the same countries and regions.2010.

eTForecasts publishes market research reports for the PC, PDA/Smartphones, cell phones and Internet industries.