Jordan is among 105 countries where the number of mobile subscriptions exceeded the population at the end of 2011, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Mobile penetration reached 118.2 per cent in Jordan in December 2011, comparable to European countries like Sweden (118.5 per cent) and Hungary (117.3 per cent), according to figures posted on the ITU website this week.
Globally, the highest penetration levels were in China's special administrative regions of Macau (243.5 per cent) and Hong Kong (209.6 per cent), as well as Panama (203 per cent).
In the Arab world, the data showed, mobile use has exploded over the past few years, with regional mobile penetration rising from 27 per cent at the end of 2005 to nearly 97 per cent last year.
Saudi Arabia had the highest penetration in the region and one of the highest in the world at 191 per cent, followed by Oman at 169 per cent, Libya at 155 per cent and the UAE at 148 per cent.
Bahrain and Qatar had penetration figures in the 120s, along with Israel; data were not available for the occupied Palestinian territories.
In a regional comparison, Jordan's mobile penetration rate was just above those of Tunisia (116 per cent) and Morocco (113 per cent).
The lowest penetration levels in the region were in Syria with 63 per cent, Sudan with 56 per cent and Yemen with 47 per cent.
The ITU counted 7.482 million mobile subscriptions at the end of 2011 in Jordan, compared to 4.343 million in 2006, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.5 per cent.
Figures released by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission showed that by the end of March this year, there were 7.758 million mobile subscriptions in Jordan, where the population stands at 6.5 million.
"Prices of mobile subscriptions in Jordan are very competitive and among the lowest in the region, which encourages Jordanians to hold more than one SIM card," Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of the Arab Advisers Group, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.
The subscription rate in Jordan is also high because telecom operators in the country provide extended validity for prepaid SIM cards, unlike other states, Abbassi added.
"When expatriates come to Jordan and buy mobile lines, they use them for a few months and then head back to their workplace in the Gulf or elsewhere. Although they leave Jordan, the prepaid mobile lines they have are still valid. In the US, for example, prepaid mobile lines are valid for month or a little more," he said.
Jordan was recently ranked as the second most competitive mobile market in the Arab world, in a study by the Arab Advisers Group released in July. According to a Department of Statistics survey, some 98.1 per cent of Jordanian households have mobile phones.
Feisal Mashhour, 26 who works as a salesman, has two mobile phones and believes that both of them are necessary.
"I have Zain Jordan and Orange Jordan mobile lines. Both lines are important for me because I use one of them for my personal calls and only my relatives and friends know this number, while I use the other number for work," Mashhour told The Jordan Times Tuesday.
"I turn off the mobile that I use for work on weekends because I do not like anyone to disturb me while I am not working. Receiving phone calls related to work on the weekends is annoying," Mashhour, who sells watches in downtown Amman, said on Tuesday.
In a statement on its website, the ITU said that total mobile subscriptions reached almost six billion by the end of 2011, corresponding to a global penetration of 86 per cent.
Developing countries accounted for more than 80 per cent of the 660 million new mobile subscriptions added in 2011, while the countries where mobile penetration increased the most in 2011 included Brazil, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan and Mali, the statement said.