The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly 3 billion Internet users – two-thirds of them will be from developing world – with mobile-broadband penetration approaching 32 per cent.
According to the ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré, The newly released figures confirm once again that information and communication technologies continue to be the key drivers of the information society.”
Internet users, according to the report the figure of 3 billion accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s population. Among those users, over three quarters are from developed countries while two-thirds come from the developing world. Moreover, people from developing countries make up for more than 90 per cent of those who are not yet using the Internet.
In Africa, about one-fifth of the population will have access to the Internet; while in the Americas, nearly two-thirds of the population will be online by the end of the year. Further, Europe has the highest Internet penetration rate of 75 per cent, while the Asia-Pacific region has the largest population of Internet users.
In recent times the emergence of Android OS and cheaper smartphones that has also led to the lowly priced feature phones (and also pushed boundaries to make them access Internet) is adding to the growth.
Turning to mobile-broadband penetration, the number of its subscriptions will achieve 2.3 billion globally. 55 per cent of them are expected to be in the developing world. As shown in the ITU statistics, mobile-broadband remains the fastest growing market segment, with continuous double-digit growth rates in 2014. In addition, Africa takes the lead in its growth, from 2 percent in 2010 to almost 20 percent in 2014.
While the report looks at increase in data penetration via mobile phones, it also says the broadband penetration will decrease over time. It could reach 10 per cent by end 2014. Similar to Internet subscriptions, Asia-Pacific region also dominates the most users in fixed-broadband, while Africa has the least, with lower than 0.5 per cent of its population.
Regarding mobile-cellular, a significant step towards which subscriptions is that the number will reach 7 billion by end of 2014, with developing countries home to over 75 per cent among the users. This increase indicates the growing markets in the developing world.
Even as the worldwide growth trend of these ICTs continues, fixed-telephone penetration, however, lags behind. According to ITU, fixed-telephone users have been declining for the last five years. In addition, there will be about 100 million fewer subscriptions than in 2009.
Originally posted on daily.bhaskar.com