As I said yesterday, a recent study predicted that by next year half of the world's population will own cell phones. And that got me thinking about exactly where in the world all the phones currently in use are located. Obviously, they're not spread evenly throughout the world's population but are concentrated in a few countries. So when the 2008 edition of The Economist's World Pocket in Figures arrived in my mailbox the same day (talk about your good timing), I took the opportunity to look it up (talk about geeky).
Though I expected that Nokia-crazed Finland or gadget-happy Japan to top the list of the highest per capita cell phone use, they didn't rate as highly as I thought. Instead, the nation with the highest concentration of cell phones was none other than the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
With a population of just half a million in 999 square miles, and located between Germany, France, and Belgium, Luxembourg is one of Europe's smallest countries. But according to The Economist, the Grand Duchy has 154.8 cell phone subscribers per 100 people. Now that's a lot of cell phones. I don't exactly know what the Luxembourgers do with all those handsets, but I'm sure the country's carriers, like Tango, do a nice business.
Second on the list was Aruba with 135.1 mobiles per 100 people while Lithuania, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, the Czech Republic, Israel, the United Kingdom and Portugal rounded out the top 10. Interestingly, Finland was No. 21 on the list, with 100.4 cell phones per 100 people, while Japan's figure was 75.3. And in case you were wondering, the United States was just a few places behind Japan, at 71.4 handsets per 100 people.