May 6, 2014
New figures released by ITU this week indicate that, by end 2014, there will be almost 3 billion Internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world, and that the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally. Upwards of 55% of these subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.
“The newly released ICT figures confirm once again that information and communication technologies continue to be the key drivers of the information society,” said ITU secretary-general Hamadoun I. Touré.
“If we want to understand the information society, we have to measure it,” Brahima Sanou, the director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said. “Without measurement we cannot track progress or identify gaps which require our attention.”
Results show that fixed-telephone penetration has been declining for the past five years. By end 2014, there will be about 100 million fewer fixed-telephone subscriptions than in 2009. Meanwhile, mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach almost 7 billion by the end 2014, and 3.6 billion of these will be in the Asia-Pacific region.
The increase is mostly due to growth in the developing world where mobile-cellular subscriptions will account for 78% of the world’s total. Data also revealed that mobile-cellular growth rates have reached their lowest-ever level (2.6% globally), indicating that the market is approaching saturation levels.
Further coverage will appear in the May/June issue of Connections+.