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Countries With Lowest Number Of Smartphones Per Capita

The cell phone, also known as a cellular phone or mobile phone, is a portable telephone that can make and receive calls. Modern mobile phones use cellular network architecture and, therefore, are called cellular phones or cell phones. In addition to making and receiving phone calls, cell phones can perform a variety of other services such as email, SMS texts, Internet access, photography, video recording, and Bluetooth connectivity, among others.

The mobile phone can be traced back to 1917 when Eric Tigerstedt, a Finnish inventor, filed a patent for a “pocket-size folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone.” Analog radio communications from ships and trains are examples of early predecessors of cellular phones. Mobile phones became accessible and affordable thanks to the development of metal-oxide-semiconductor large-scale integration technology, information theory, and cellular networking.

The first handheld mobile phone, a handset weighing almost four and a half pounds, was demonstrated in 1973 by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola. In 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone launched the first cellular network in the world in Japan. DyanTAC 8000x was the first commercially available mobile phone, introduced in 1983.

The first true smartphone made its appearance in the world in 1992 when the Simon Personal Communicator was created by IBM. Smartphones comprise about 78% of total mobile phone sales. Modern smartphones have endless capabilities such as video calls, GPS navigation, advanced cameras, and a variety of other functions thanks to the availability of countless applications that can be downloaded directly to the user’s device. Between the release of the DyanTAC 8000x in 1983 and 2014, mobile phone subscriptions grew to over 7 billion worldwide, enough to supply every person on Earth with a cell phone. As of Q1 of 2020, the best-selling phones in the United States are Samsung, Huawei, and Apple.

Cell Phones by Country

In general, the number of cell phone users per country is relatively proportional to that country’s population compared to other countries. Some people have multiple cell phone lines for various reasons, including one for personal use and one for business use. The following countries have the highest number of cell phones users:

  1. China (1.6 billion)
  2. India (1.28 billion)
  3. Indonesia (386 million)
  4. United States (327 million)
  5. Brazil (284 million)
  6. Russia (256 million)
  7. Nigeria (167 million)
  8. Bangladesh (166 million)
  9. Pakistan (165 million)
  10. Japan (147 million)

As a result of the Digital Revolution that has happened around the world, smartphone usage has skyrocketed in the past few decades, with 60% of the world’s population (4.57 billion people) using the internet in 2020. Of those people, 92% are using some type of mobile device to go online, and this shows no signs of slowing down in the future.

Smartphone Usage Per Capita

Mobile phone usage has been tied to an understanding how quickly the economy of a country is growing. Some developing economies experiencing the most growth had an incredible ratio of smartphones to smartphone users in 2018. China (Macao SAR) had an average of 3.45 smartphones per person in 2018, while China (Hong Kong SAR) had an average of 2.7 smartphones per person in the same year. The United Arab Emirates saw an average of 2.09 smartphones per person in 2018.

Smartphone penetration rates have also been used to demonstrate upward economic growth, with a rate of greater than 70% usually demonstrating that an economy has become advanced, while a rate of less than 70% usually demonstrates that an economy is emerging or just beginning to develop. The following are some of the world’s countries with the lowest number of smartphones per capita as per World Bank data.

1. American Samoa

This unincorporated territory of the United States is located in the south-central Pacific Ocean, and 93% of the population is ethnically Samoan. Considering its geographical isolation, it is no wonder that the internet and cell phone plans in American Samoa are incredibly expensive for the average person. This is why in 2004, only 4% of Samoans had a mobile cellular subscription, however, this number is set to increase.

  • Mobile phone usage has been tied to an understanding how quickly the economy of a country is growing.
  • The nation with the second-lowest smartphone use per capita is the Korean Dem. People’s Republic (North Korea).
  • in 2018, only 27% of Central Africans possessed smartphones.

2. Korean Democratic People’s Republic (North Korea)

This nation next to Russia, China, and South Korea, and under a government considered by many to be strict and authoritarian is very isolated from the rest of the world when it comes to smartphone usage. Citizens have access to state-mandated radio and television broadcasting, but few people possess smartphones and internet usage is virtually non-existent. While the number of smartphones in the country has increased substantially, in 2017 only 15% of North Koreans possessed a smartphone. It is also likely that very few possessed access to the World Wide Web.

  • Mobile phone usage has been tied to an understanding how quickly the economy of a country is growing.
  • The nation with the second-lowest smartphone use per capita is the Korean Dem. People’s Republic (North Korea).
  • in 2018, only 27% of Central Africans possessed smartphones.

3. Eritrea

This country is located on the coast of the Red Sea and bordered by Sudan and Ethiopia. On May 24th, 1993, Eritrea was liberated from Ethiopian rule. While the country managed to create a collective national identity in the years leading up to independence, following this international trade was stunted by factors like ethnic and religious differences, the effects of conflict, extreme drought, and a general lack of state-sponsored supports. Due to these factors, in 2017 only 20% of Eritreans had smartphones, but that number is steadily growing.

4. Micronesia

There are more than 600 tiny islands that make up the whole of Micronesia, and the people that live there can be divided into four main cultural and language groups. Most of the Micronesian economy is mostly made up of farming and fishing, and the majority of people live outside of urban centers, so it is no wonder that in 2017 only 21% of people in Micronesia had access to a smartphone.

5. Central African Republic

This country in the heart of Africa is home to a population of mostly Aka (Pygmy) peoples, and due to mismanagement of finances and government corruption, its economy has been incredibly strained. For this reason in 2018 only 27% of Central Africans possessed smartphones.

Countries With Lowest Number Of Smartphones Per Capita

RankCountryMobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)
1American Samoa4
2North Korea15
4Federated States of Micronesia21
5Central African Republic27
6Marshall Islands28
8South Sudan33


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