Some call mobile phones the great equalizer. With one click, poor farmers in rural Uganda can have the same access to information as a rancher in Texas. Because of this, many expect the dramatic growth of phones in the developing world to bring boundless opportunities.
But according to a GSMA report released in October, we actually ended 2012 with about 2 billion fewer mobile phone subscribers than previously thought. GSMA’s estimate of 3.2 billion subscribers by the end of the year (growing at a rate of 16 % per year) is at odds with another report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – one of the main public sources of information often cited for this data – that put the count at 6 billion and growing.