12 Countries With The Lowest Rates Of Cell Phone Subscriptions

Mobile PhoneA cell phone is a wireless handheld device which allows users to make calls and send text messages, among other features. The earliest generation of mobile phones only made and received calls. Today’s cell phones, however, are packed with many additional features, such as web browsers, games, cameras, video players and even navigational systems.

Also known as mobile phones, cell phones are widely used, but there are some countries with the lowest rates of cell phone users.

Eritrea and North Korea have the lowest mobile phone subscription rates.With cell phone subscriptions per person of 1 in 17 and 1 in 9, respectively.

EriTel, the sole provider of mobile service in Eritrea, is strictly controlled by the government.

The world has become technically sound and most of the countries are now connected through various means of communication, whether the use of a cellular phone, social networking, or otherwise. This has made the people to connect within no time because of infrastructure development, technological process and falling prices of cell phones have made billions of users to use mobile technology. However, many countries in the world have low rate of cell phone subscriptions.

Socioeconomic Factors Related to Low Rates of Cell Phone Subscriptions

 Eritrea takes the first spot, having 6 Mobile Cell Phone Subscriptions per 100 people. North Korea on the other hand has11 Mobile Cell Phone Subscriptions per 100 people and Kiribati has just 17 Mobile Cell Phone Subscriptions per 100 people.


The Telecommunication in Eritrea is under the control of the government of Eritrea, EriTel being the only network operator for mobile telephone and landline communication network. Many factors have been reported to be responsible for the lowest rate of cell phone subscriptions by the people. One of them is the higher prices. In recent years, most of the people have tried to flee the countr or already based in other countries due to slow economic development that is also one of the reasons for lower cell phone subscriptions. People are unable to raise their voices against the regimes untoward policies and expensive rates of cell phones. This has made more than half of the population not able to afford a cell phone. According to ITU data, only 1% of people have landline facility and 5.6% have mobile phone connection in the country that is lowest in the world.

North Korea

Flag of North Korea

North Korea takes the second spot. Due to the country’s isolationist policies, they have not adopted this orthodox technology fully. Only about 4.7% of the people have landline connections and about 9.7% have cell phone connections. The internet connection in the country is only available for foreigners who are residing in the country. Although, Egyptian Telecommunication Company Orascom launched the 3G cellular network in the country but they have to face worse situation as the government limited its citizen to communicate with other people and nearly killed many citizens who raised voice against it. The Socioeconomic impact was that the financial status of the households is adjudged with the cell phones the family possesses since the cell phones were sold at higher rates.


Kiribati remains on the third spot of countries with the lowest rate of cell phone subscriptions. This is because the connectivity is provided only through High-Frequency Radio telephone. However, as time went by, the Coconut Wireless was introduced in the area that is expensive for the citizens. Even the satellite network in the area is unsuitable and higher in rates for the locals. The other socioeconomic implications in Kiribati are over-population, rising sea levels since it is an Island country and poverty also refrain people from affording cell phone subscriptions.

Inferences and Implications from Cellular Phone Subscription Data

In conclusion, it can be concluded from the above information that some of the Asian and African countries are still lacking the usage of cell phones due to unorganized structure. Higher installation prices add to the already expensive telecommunication systems, causing them to become prohibitively expensive for many people.

12 Countries With The Lowest Rates Of Cell Phone Subscriptions

Rank Country Mobile Cell Phone Subscriptions Per 100 People
1 Eritrea 6
2 North Korea 11
3 Kiribati 17
4 Cuba 22
5 South Sudan 25
6 Central African Republic 25
7 Marshall Islands 29
8 Burundi 30
9 Ethiopia 32
10 Djibouti 32
11 Malawi 33
12 Tuvalu 38

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