There Are Now More Mobile Connections Than People in the World

Mobile phones
There are now more than 7.2 billion active SIM cards in the world, and that number is growing. Carlos Barria/Reuters

Active mobile devices now outnumber people for the first time.

The U.S. Census Bureau says that there are nearly 7.2 billion people on Earth, growing at a rate of 2 people per second. But according to GSMA Intelligence—a global trade association conducting real-time mobile network analysis—there are now more than 7.2 billion active SIM cards in the world and the number is increasing five times faster than the human population.

Since around half of the world population has access to a mobile phone, where are these active SIM cards coming from?

Some people have more than one cell phone, possibly for business, while others have a tablet or similar device that uses mobile data. The number of mobile connections is expected to continue trending upward as the technology becomes even more integral to modern life and is adopted by a more people in the developing world.

But another game changer is the increasing number of active connections between machines (medical appliances and cars, for instance). They make up a quarter of a billion of the world's SIM cards at the moment—a number that is expected to skyrocket as the Internet of Everything connects more of our devices.

But be careful, these connections come with a risk. Just ask Dick Cheney.