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Connectivity data - Mobile cellular subscriptions

Mobile cellular telephone subscriptions are subscriptions to a public mobile telephone service that provide access to the PSTN using cellular technology. The indicator includes (and is split into) the number of postpaid subscriptions, and the number of active prepaid accounts (i.e. that have been used during the last three months). The indicator applies to all mobile cellular subscriptions that offer voice communications. It excludes subscriptions via data cards or USB modems, subscriptions to public mobile data services, private trunked mobile radio, telepoint, radio paging and telemetry services.

RCoE Action:

Map elaborated by Battistella, L. (November 2022) using ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database.

Operators have traditionally been the main source of telecommunications data, so information on subscriptions has been widely available for most countries. This gives a general idea of access, but a more precise measure is the penetration rate - the share of households with access to telecommunications. During the past few years more information on information and communication technology use has become available from household and business surveys. Also important are data on actual use of telecommunications services. Ideally, statistics on telecommunications (and other information and communications technologies) should be compiled for all three measures: subscriptions, access, and use. The quality of data varies among reporting countries as a result of differences in regulations covering data provision and availability. Discrepancies between global and national figures may arise when countries use a different definition than the one used by ITU. For example, some countries do not include the number of ISDN channels when calculating the number of fixed telephone lines. Discrepancies may also arise in cases where the end of a fiscal year differs from that used by ITU, which is the end of December of every year. A number of countries have fiscal years that end in March or June of every year. Data are usually not adjusted but discrepancies in the definition, reference year or the break in comparability in between years are noted in a data note. For this reason, data are not always strictly comparable. Missing values are estimated by ITU. Mobile subscriptions include both analogue and digital cellular systems (IMT-2000 (Third Generation, 3G) and 4G subscriptions, but excludes mobile broadband subscriptions via data cards or USB modems. Subscriptions to public mobile data services, private trunked mobile radio, telepoint or radio paging, and telemetry services are also excluded, but all mobile cellular subscriptions that offer voice communications are included. Both postpaid and prepaid subscriptions are included.

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