Statistics released by Informa Telecoms & Media show that the global mobile penetration rate has reached 50%, representing a total of 3.3 billion wireless subscriptions worldwide. In the two decades following the introduction of the world’s first mobile phone network in 1981, growth in worldwide wireless services was relatively slow. (Sources indicate that it took 19 years, until 2000, for wireless networks to reach 10% of the world’s population.) Since that time, however, growth in wireless market services has exploded, with the worldwide penetration rate rising from 40% to 50% in just twelve months. In the past year alone, worldwide cellular phone subscribership has surged by 18%, from 2.8 billion users at the end of last year to 3.3 billion, with much of that growth occurring in emerging markets such as India and China. Although wireless operators now count some 3.3 billion subscriptions worldwide, Informa estimates that the actual number of persons who actually use cell phones stands at 2.5 billion, as increasing numbers of customers in more mature markets now subscribe to two or more mobile lines. Informa also notes that mobile networks now cover 90% of the global population, leaving just 10% of the world’s inhabitants without access to cell phone coverage or connections.