Cellular telephone population trends.
Launched 13 years ago, digital cellular telephones are now part of the everyday life of more than 400 million Europeans. The scope of technological evolutions, the speed of dissemination, and the appropriation of this new means of communication by a very large majority of Europeans across all categories and generations is an unprecedented phenomenon in economic history.
Cellular telephony has become an economic sector in its own right. The number of subscribers increased 25-fold between 1995 and 2005. Except for a few steadfast exceptions, everyone is a cellular phone user.
And at one moment or another, we are all tourists using our cell phones.
Trend in coverage of cellular telephone network and intelligent infrastructure.
Today, cellular telephone operators cover practically all of Europe. A few "blank zones" still remained in 2005, mainly in rural areas.
To expand this coverage to 99% of the population by 2007, connecting solutions are currently being deployed.
The vast majority of tourist areas are currently covered by cellular telephone networks, and coverage will therefore be 99% in 2007.
This coverage is enabled through an "invisible" infrastructure, outside of the base station transceivers.
This infrastructure is based on an "intelligent" operating system that allows the network to know, at any given time, where users - and therefore tourists - are, so they can receive and make calls.
Therefore, the number of cellular telephones that are ON and connected to the network can be quantified in a given geographic area, whether they are in standby mode or connected to another user.
This network "intelligence" is based on databases that are maintained in real-time by the computers that manage them.