How mobile phone ownership varies drastically across the globe

New data has emerged about smartphone ownership and the results shows great disparity across the globe.

A smartphone, defined by Pew Research Center, is a mobile phone that can access the internet and apps.

Chart: Statista

South Koreans are among the most prolific smartphone users in the world, with 88 per cent of them owning one, and the rest of the population still owning a regular one.

In stark contrast is Ethiopia, where a mere four per cent own smartphones, and 52 per cent own neither a smartphone nor a regular mobile.

Many countries on the list, including India and Nigeria are regional powerhouses and emerging global economies, so why are they still near the bottom?

In its report, Pew writes that these statistics need to be looked at within the wider context of wealth, and part of their findings show that there is a correlation between country wealth and smartphone usage.

The income gap within countries is also consistent across regions and differing levels of economic development. In all of the countries surveyed with sufficient sample sizes, people with a higher income are more likely to own a smartphone than people in the lower income bracket.

While the 2015 survey shows only 17 per cent of Indians owning a smartphone, the population of India is well over 1 billion people, so it is still one of the largest smartphone markets in the world.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, criticised the mobile phone industry recently for prioritising the development of 5G networks, Reuters.

He said:

The companies should make more effort to finish the job of making sure that everyone in the world gets internet access.

He described 5G networks as "faster connections for rich people".

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