In 1990 just 12 million people had subscriptions to mobile telephones; there were 2.4 cellular subscriptions per 1000 people. At this time mobile telephones were large, expensive and had limited network coverage.
The United States had the most mobile phone subscriptions, at 5 million; followed by the United Kingdom with 1 million; Japan with 800,000; then Canada and China with 600,000 subscriptions each. 138 territories in the world had less than 1000 mobile subscriptions in each. Much of the Middle East, Southern Asia, and Central Africa are not visible on this map. Many territories had no cellular telephone network.