Research firm Informa says worldwide cell phone subscriptions have reached 3.3 billion - that's close to half of the global population.
"The mobile industry has constantly outperformed even the most optimistic forecasts for subscriber growth," Mark Newman, head of research at Informa said in a statement.
"For children growing up today the issue is not whether they will get a mobile phone, it's a question of when," Newman said.
In recent years the industry has seen surging growth in outskirts of China and India, helped by constantly falling phone and call prices, with cellphone vendors already eyeing inroads into Africa's countryside to keep up the growth.
But although mobile subscriptions have reached the equivalent of 50 percent of the population, this does not mean that half the people in the world now have a mobile phone, since Informa said 59 countries have mobile penetration of over 100 percent -- where some owners have more than one phone.