Half a billion mobile phones

The Register reports that 2003 was a record year for mobile phone handsets:

“[According to IDC], 533.4 million handsets shipped in 2003, up 23.3 per cent on the 432.7 million that shipped in 2002.
Fellow researcher Strategy Analytics put the cumulative 2003 total
at 516 million, beating the record set in 2000, when 435 million
handsets were shipped.”

It’s hard to comprehend that number.  Imagine if every man, woman, and child in America bought two
cellphones last year!  Or to put it another way, there were half
as many mobile phones sold last year as there were wireline subscribers
in the world.