Surfing the internet this week, I came across this little statistic: cellphone penetration in El Salvador now exceeds 100% which means there are more cell phones than people in the country. This happens as people have more than one cell phone or SIM card, perhaps on different cell networks.
Most Salvadoran cell phones are pre-paid accounts, with recharge cards being available for sale at the tiniest stores in communities everywhere. An article in IPS last year explains the growth of cell phone usage:
Telecommunications manager Saúl Vásquez said many people own more than one cell phone, because they are drawn in by the constant promotions offered by the telecoms companies.
Blanca Flores, a student of communications who has two cell phones, said she purchased her second after having problems with the first.
"I kept losing my Claro connection, so I decided to get another number, from Telemóvil," she told IPS.
The large proportion of Salvadorans who live outside of the country - 2.5 million live in the United States - has had a major influence on the expansion of cell phone use. Many migrants’ relatives use mobile phones to communicate, especially with their families in rural areas of El Salvador where fixed lines are unavailable.