4bn Mobile Connections and Counting

The GSM Association (GSMA) has announced that the mobile world has passed the 4 billion connection landmark, according to figures from the GSMAs market intelligence unit, Wireless Intelligence. The GSMA says the news puts the global market on the path to reach 6 billion connections by 2013. The GSMA believes that the growth has been driven by two primary sources: the integration of mobile into previously unconnected devices; and subscriber additions in emerging markets.
As we enter 2009, the world is in the midst of a broad economic slowdown, one that is impacting every facet of business, every link in the communications value chain, says GSMA Chief Marketing Officer, Michael OHara. To address the significant challenges facing the global economy, the GSMA and its membership are focused on leveraging mobility to create new opportunities and to drive productivity and prosperity. GSMA industry initiatives in the areas of Mobile Broadband, Mobile Lifestyle and Mobile Planet will help drive this innovation and growth, despite the challenges of the global economic downturn. 
The GSMAs Mobile Broadband initiatives focus on the development of a ubiquitous Mobile Broadband infrastructure and the proliferation of Internet-connected mobile devices. The GSMA notes that with 100 million Mobile Broadband connections in that 4 billion figure, and 1.1 billion fixed broadband lines reaching only one sixth of the worlds population, the opportunities are vast.
The GSMAs Mobile Lifestyle initiatives concentrate on the cross-industry creation of innovative services that combine web attributes with mobility to make services, such as banking or entertainment, more compelling.
The Associations Mobile Planet initiatives focus on leveraging mobility to help improve the lives of individuals across the developing world in a socially responsible manner. With countries like India adding 10 million new mobile connections per month, and many users accessing the Internet, email and banking exclusively via mobile devices, the developing world is central to mobile industry growth, the GSMA says.
As grid electricity is inaccessible to many emerging market areas, next week's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona will be exploring the use of renewable energy. The GSMAs Development Fund, which facilitates the delivery of mobile offerings to people living on less than $2 per day, will be presenting the Green Power Pavilion where leading green technology providers will meet with operators. The Green Power for Mobile seminar on Wednesday 18 February will explore the role of renewable energy in expanding off-grid network coverage and reducing OPEX.
Mobile phones have evolved to become broadband-enabled multi-media devices that connect mass markets in mature and emerging markets alike, says OHara. Mobile World Congress will showcase how the industry will continue to push the boundaries into the mobile future.