February 4, 2013

Cell Phones Nearly Universal in Much of the World

87%

In most nations surveyed, large majorities say they have mobile phones.

Broad majorities around the world own a cell phone. Three-quarters or more in 18 of the 21 countries surveyed in mid-2012 say they have a mobile phone, while at least half say the same in Mexico (63%), India (56%) and Pakistan (52%). Looking at all the nations surveyed, a median of 87% say they have a cell phone.

In addition to making phone calls, most respondents say they regularly use their cell phone to send text messages. At least two-thirds of cell-phone owners in 17 countries say they frequently text, including 93% in Mexico and 90% in Lebanon. Turks (60%), Germans (58%), Indians (42%) and Pakistanis (36%) are less likely to send text messages.

Taking pictures or videos with cell phones is somewhat less popular. The Japanese (79%), Mexicans (70%), Americans (67%) and Spanish (67%) are the most likely to regularly use their phones to take a picture or video, while roughly six-in-ten or fewer say the same in the other 17 countries surveyed. Pakistanis (13%) are the least likely to use their mobile phones for such a purpose.

Few cell phone users access the internet on their phones. In 18 of the countries surveyed, fewer than four-in-ten say they regularly use their mobile phone to access the internet. The British (52%), Japanese (51%) and Americans (51%) are most likely to do so. Read more