How Many People Worldwide Have Never Used A Phone?


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The phrase "Half the world has never made a phone call" has become an urban legend, a widely believed but unsubstantiated statistic.

This proclamation has been made by several well-known people in trusted medias between 1995 and now. Thabo Mbeki made the statement in the Information Society and Development Conference in 1996, Kofi Annan said it in 2000, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Michael Moore and Newt Gingrich said it in 2001, Greg LeVert of MCI said it at a telecom conference in 1994, Richard Klugman of PaineWebber said it in The Economist in 1995, Jeffery Sachs and Al Gore both said it in 1998, Reed Hundt and Steve Case both said it 2000, as did Carly Fiorina and Melinda Gates. Tatang Razak of Indonesia told the UN's Committee on Information "After all, most of the people in the world have never made a phone call...' in speech from April of this year.

The extent of telecommunication grids is very limited in most of the developing countries, where most of the world population resides. There are c.a. 1 billion telephones in the world and the 48 least developed countries have only 1.5 million of them. Some 15 per cent of the world's population has access to over 70 per cent of the world's telephone lines. These facts support the statement that more than 50 per cent of the world's people have never made a phone call.

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