The GSM Association says the total number of connections to GSM networks has passed 3 billion. This landmark has been breached four years after GSM achieved its first billion connections and two years after the second billionth.
The world's biggest GSM markets today are China (509 million), which is growing at a rate of more than 7 million new connections a month and accounts for 14% of the third billion growth; India (193 million), growing at 6 million per month accounts for 12% of the third billion growth, Russia (178 million) and Brazil (93 million) which both contributed 4% of the third billion growth.
The main rival to GSM is CDMA and its derivative technologies, which according to The CDMA Development Group had just over 431 million subscribers globally at the end of 2007.
The CDMA and GSM figures combined mean that there are about 3 billion people without mobile phones of any kind.
Last night the GSMA premiered a documentary film Mobile Planet in London, which explores the social and economic impact of mobile across 20 countries, from Japan to Rwanda, South Africa to Chile.