9 cells for every 10 Koreans
8th-highest mobile phone subscription rate in Asia-Pacific
Life without a mobile phone is hard to imagine, especially in Korea, where nine out of every 10 individuals use one, according to the International Telecommunication Union yesterday.
The global agency released a report compiling and comparing the number of cellular phone subscribers in different countries in the Asia-Pacific region as of 2007, and Korea ranked eighth in terms of subscription rates.
According to the ITU report, Koreans maintain 43.5 million mobile phone subscriptions, or 90.2 for every 100 residents. That number is a huge increase from 2002, when there were just 68.4 phones for every 100 Koreans.
The number of cell phones in Korea also outpaced the overall average for the Asia-Pacific region, which was 36.6 subscriptions for every 100 residents.
Ranked first for the most cell phones per capita was Macao, where the average person owns more than one mobile phone to put its figure at 165.1 subscriptions for every 100 people. Following behind was Hong Kong at 149.2 phones, Singapore at 133.5, Thailand at 123.8 and the Maldives at 102.6. In sixth was Australia with 102.5 phones per 100 people, and New Zealand was seventh with 101.7.
“The countries with a high subscription rate have developed prepaid phone systems,” the report said.
The country with the lowest subscription rate on the list was the impoverished totalitarian state of Myanmar, where there was under one phone for every 100 individuals. North Korea was not included in the report.
The Marshall Islands was second to last at 1.4, following by the Solomon Islands (2.2) and Papua New Guinea (4.7). Other countries at the lower end included Cambodia (17.9), Afghanistan (17.2) and Tuvalu (16.8).
In terms of overall number of subscriptions in the Asia-Pacific region, China ranked first with 547.3 million, while India ranked second with 233.62 million and Japan third at 177.3 million.
By Lee Eun-joo [firstname.lastname@example.org]