Mobile networks to cover 90% of world population by 2010
By 2010, 90% of the world will be covered by mobile networks. Many developing countries have set up universal service funds, which levy contributions from mobile and fixed operators, to subsidize the rollout of telecommunications networks in rural areas. According to this study, mobile operators could extend coverage to an additional 450 million people (7% of the world’s population) living in rural areas, if the unallocated US$ 4.4 billion (EUR 3.5 billion) universal service fund levies were invested into mobile network rollout. The study also advocates for governments to focus their policies on the 2.7 billion people who live in areas covered by mobile networks but don't currently use mobile services. By removing sales and customs taxes on mobile handsets and services, for example, governments could boost affordability for the poorest members of society and increase mobile penetration by 20% in areas which already have network coverage.