Mobile devices nearing 5 billion globally

Active mobile devices will hit 5 billion globally this year, according to a new study by ABI Research. Most of the increase in mobile subscriptions is occurring in Africa, with 22 percent annual growth, and in Asia, which will hit 65 percent market penetration by the end of this year.

Report author Giselle Tsirulnik said North America and Europe have already crossed the 100 percent penetration threshold, with new accounts still being added due to the proliferation of Internet-connected devices such as netbooks, tablets and e-book readers.

In advice targeted for marketers but applicable to publishers as well, ABI Research analyst Bhavya Khanna said people should not ignore the vast majority of typical feature-phone users while still preparing for the explosive growth of smart-phone equipped consumers.

“A 2G voice and messaging subscriber — currently the vast majority of mobile subscriptions — requires a strategy tailored around SMS and IVR services,” Khanna said. “However, for fast-moving mobile broadband capable subscriptions, there is a large and growing user base to market rich content advertisements and promotions.”