The number of GSM mobile phone users around the world has reached two billion, according to the GSM Association (GSMA).
New users are signing up at the rate of 1,000 per minute, which works out at just under 18 per second.
The figure includes more than 72 million people already using third-generation 3GSM services.
"This is the fastest growth of technology ever witnessed," said Craig Ehrlich, chairman of the GSMA.
The milestone had been achieved in record time, according to Ehrlich, considering that it took 12 years to reach the first billion connections.
"The second billion has been achieved in just two and a half years boosted by the phenomenal take up of mobile in emerging markets such as China, India, Africa and Latin America, which accounted for 82 per cent of the second billion subscribers," he said.
China is the largest single GSM market in the world today with more than 370 million users, followed by Russia with 145 million, India with 83 million and the US with 78 million.
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