The image on this post comes via Horace Dediu (@asymco) via Twitter/TwitPic. It speaks to both the unique numbers that have characterized mobile for sometime in terms of its relationship of subscribers to the global population and to what’s addressable within those constraints.
In a previous post, we threw some numbers against the wall to explain in a similar fashion that while mobile is indeed an opportunity, what it can address directly isn’t limitless. Look at that graphic – as of 2012, the GSMA is saying that of the 4.7 billion people who could be addressable with mobile, 1.5 million (a tick less than 33%) of them are not connected due to network coverage issues. That’s a pretty large pocket of folks that you can’t rely on to download your app, receive your SMS/MMS, or scan your QR code/AR dimensional plane. For mobile to have effectiveness there, you’ve got to think more off the grid, and more to the point if mobile is the most relevant delivery or translation mechanism (for example, what we saw with AirStash on an airplane).
When you do adjust for that, then the possibilities of using mobile become unique enough that it seems as if it truly will reach the ends of the earth.