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Feb 23, 2010 11:18 AM by Associated Press

Poor but networked: UN says cell phone use surging

A new U.N. report says more than half of the people in the developing world are now cell phone subscribers.

The world body's International Telecommunication Union says there were an estimated 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions at the end of last year, compared with about 1 billion in 2002.

Internet use has grown as well, but at a slower pace. An estimated 1.7 billion people, or about a quarter of the world's population, were online last year. That's up from 11 percent in 2002.

Still, four out of five people living in poor countries have no access to the Internet.

The report that tallied usage in 159 nations also ranked countries according to how frequently and well their populations use newer technology.

Sweden tops the list, followed by Luxembourg, South Korea, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

The United States is 19th.

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