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The 20 Countries With the Highest Per Capita Cell-Phone Use

  1. Dense Penetration in Tiny Countries
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    Dense Penetration in Tiny Countries

    What country can lay claim to having the most cell phones per capita? United Arab Emirates reported more than two for each citizen. A close second is tiny Montenegro. Surprised? The countries with the most phones per person tend to be small, with lots of borders or numerous foreign workers and visitors, says Susan Teltscher, an analyst with International Telecommunication Union. (That's because visitors tend to buy local phones to use during their stay.)

    With UAE as a benchmark, phone companies in the U.S. and China would appear to have room to grow. Mobile-phone penetration stands at 91 percent in the U.S. and a mere 56 percent in Mainland China, according to statistics* from the ITU. Take a look at the countries that boast the highest penetration of cell-phone use.

    *The most recent statistics available, from the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, are from 2009. The numbers of total cell-phone subscriptions are from carriers in each country and include only subscriptions that were active within three months of the end of 2009. Numbers in the slide show have been rounded.
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  2. No. 1: United Arab Emirates
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    No. 1: United Arab Emirates

    Mobile-phone penetration: 233 percent
    Population: 4.6 million
    Subscriptions: 10.7 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 24 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 6.8:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 75
    Digital Vision
  3. No. 2: Montenegro
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    No. 2: Montenegro

    Mobile-phone penetration: 210 percent
    Population: 620,000
    Subscriptions: 1.3 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 22 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 7.5:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 45
    ROBERT ATANASOVSKI AFP/Getty
  4. No. 3: Macau, China*
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    No. 3: Macau, China*

    Mobile-phone penetration: 185 percent
    Population: 540,000
    Subscriptions: 1 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 19 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 6.1:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 50

    *Macau is broken out as a separate entity in the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database. Macau is part of the People's Republic of China.
    ALEX HOFFORD AFP/Getty.jpg
  5. No. 4: Cayman Islands
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    No. 4: Cayman Islands

    Mobile-phone penetration: 181 percent
    Population: 60,000
    Subscriptions: 108,700
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 26 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 3:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: NA
    Steve Mason
  6. No. 5: Hong Kong*
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    No. 5: Hong Kong*

    Mobile-phone penetration: 180 percent
    Population: 7 million
    Subscriptions: 12.6 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 9 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 2.9:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 69

    *Hong Kong is broken out as a separate entity in the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database. Hong Kong is part of the People's Republic of China.
    Mike Clarke AFP/Getty
  7. No. 6: Anguilla
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    No. 6: Anguilla

    Mobile-phone penetration: 180 percent
    Population: 15,000
    Subscriptions: 27,000
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 30 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 4.3:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 2407_anguilla_JackHollingsworth.jpg
    Jack Hollingsworth
  8. No. 7: Qatar
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    No. 7: Qatar

    Mobile-phone penetration: 179 percent
    Population: 1.4 million
    Subscriptions: 2.5 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 38 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 8.7:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 40
    Rabih Mograhabi AFP/Getty
  9. No.8: Bahrain
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    No.8: Bahrain

    Mobile-phone penetration: 177 percent
    Population: 790,000
    Subscriptions: 1.4 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 17 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 5.9:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 53
    Adam
  10. No. 9: Saudi Arabia
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    No. 9: Saudi Arabia

    Mobile-phone penetration: 175 percent
    Population: 25.7 million
    Subscriptions: 44.9 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 37 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 10.8:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 38
  11. No. 10: St. Kitts and Nevis
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    No. 10: St. Kitts and Nevis

    Mobile-phone penetration: 166 percent
    Population: 50,000
    Subscriptions: 83,000
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 23 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 4:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 17
  12. No. 11: Russia
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    No. 11: Russia

    Mobile-phone penetration: 163 percent
    Population: 141 million
    Subscriptions: 230.5 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 26 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 5.1:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 29
  13. No. 12: Panama
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    No. 12: Panama

    Mobile-phone penetration: 163 percent
    Population: 3.5 million
    Subscriptions: 5.7 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 35 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 10.6:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 28
  14. No. 13: Lithuania
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    No. 13: Lithuania

    Mobile-phone penetration: 152 percent
    Population: 3.3 million
    Subscriptions: 5 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 10 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 6.6:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 60
  15. No. 14: Dominica
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    No. 14: Dominica

    Mobile-phone penetration: 151 percent
    Population: 70,000
    Subscriptions: 106,000
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 20 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 6.1:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 42
  16. No. 15: Antigua and Barbuda
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    No. 15: Antigua and Barbuda

    Mobile-phone penetration: 150 percent
    Population: 90,000
    Subscriptions: 134,900
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 20 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 3.6:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 74
  17. No. 16: Portugal
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    No. 16: Portugal

    Mobile-phone penetration: 149 percent
    Population: 10.7 million
    Subscriptions: 15.9 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 9 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 3.7:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 48
  18. No. 17: Libya
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    No. 17: Libya

    Mobile-phone penetration: 148 percent
    Population: 6.4 million
    Subscriptions: 9.5 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 80 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 9:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 6
  19. No. 18: Maldives
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    No. 18: Maldives

    Mobile-phone penetration: 147 percent
    Population: 310,000
    Subscriptions: 457,800
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 32 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 9.3:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 28
  20. No. 19: Luxembourg
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    No. 19: Luxembourg

    Mobile-phone penetration: 147 percent
    Population: 490,000
    Subscriptions: 720,000
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 9 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 2.7:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 87
  21. No. 20: Italy
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    No. 20: Italy

    Mobile-phone penetration: 147 percent
    Population: 60 million
    Subscriptions: 88 million
    Annual growth 2004-2009: 7 percent
    Ratio of mobile to fixed line: 4.1:1
    Estimated Internet users per 100 people: 49