By 2020, an extra one billion people will become mobile subscribers, according to a new report from the GSMA.
The paper, entitled The Mobile Economy: 2015, explains that the number of unique mobile subscribers will increase to 4.6 billion over the next five years.
As a whole, this is equivalent to 60 per cent of the global population, demonstrating how prevalent these devices have become.
"A decade ago, just one in five of the global population was a mobile subscriber – we have now surpassed the 50 per cent milestone and can look forward to connecting a billion new subscribers over the next five years," said Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA.
"Mobile sits at the heart of a new ecosystem that is uniting the digital and physical worlds, and powering economic growth. At the same time, mobile operators continue to deploy networks to all corners of the globe, connecting unconnected citizens and addressing socio-economic challenges in areas such as digital and financial inclusion, healthcare and education."
There are still wide variations in terms of "mobile penetration," the study explained. For example, in Europe, approximately 80 per cent of the population are classed as mobile subscribers (as of 2014). In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is only 39 per cent.
Other highlights of the paper include the move towards 3G/4G mobile broadband networks, which along with increasing smartphone adoption – over "just" mobile phones – is boosting growth in new applications.
Such is the power of these devices that the authors of the report state that the mobile industry will have an even greater impact on the global economy, in boosting employment and transforming the lives of billions of people across the world.
"Our new report published today includes a number of steps that policymakers can take to stimulate investment, competition and innovation in the mobile-powered digital economy, including reducing constraints on market-driven restructuring," Ms Bouverot added.