More Phones Than People

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Apr 06, 2023 - 08:15 AM

This week marked the 50th anniversary of a momentous phone call.

A big call on a big phone - Cooper in 1973

As Statista's Felix Richter reports, on April 3, 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper was standing in a street of New York when he made the first ever call on a true mobile phone, calling his chief rival at Bell Labs, Joel Engel, presumably to gloat.

The call, made on a prototype of what later became the Motorola DynaTAC, was brief, as Cooper later recalled.

"I said 'Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cellphone, a real, handheld, portable cellphone.' There was a silence at the other end. I suspect he was grinding his teeth."

Cooper's call was a pivotal moment in the history of mobile communication, as it marked the beginning of a new era.

Today, mobile phones are ubiquitous, with over 5.4 billion people worldwide having at least one mobile subscription, according to GSMA.

In fact, there are now more mobile subscriptions than people on the planet, as the former overtook the latter in 2016.

Infographic: More Phones Than People | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there were more than 8.58 billion mobile subscriptions in use worldwide in 2022, compared to a global population of 7.95 billion halfway through the year.