Mobile broadband is growing rapidly‚ reaching nearly half of the global market this year‚ a twelve-fold increase in just eight years.
New figures released by ITU‚ the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs)‚ with 193 member states‚ show there are now more than seven billion mobile subscriptions worldwide‚ up from 738 million in 2000.
To put that in context, as of 2012 estimates the world population is also over seven billion.
Globally‚ 3.2 billion people are using the Internet‚ of which two billion live in developing countries.
“These new figures not only show the rapid technological progress made to date‚ but also help us identify those being left behind in the fast-evolving digital economy‚ as well as the areas where ICT investment is needed most‚” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said in a prepared speech delivered at the press conference to launch the report today at the 2015 WSIS Forum in Geneva.
“ICTs will play an even more significant role in the post-2015 era and in achieving future Sustainable Development Goals as the world moves faster and faster towards a digital society‚” said Brahima Sanou‚ the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.
Between 2000 and 2015‚ Internet penetration has increased almost seven-fold from 6.5 to 43 percent of the global population.
The proportion of households with Internet access at home advanced from 18 percent in 2005 to 46 per cent in 2015.
ITU figures also indicate that four billion people in the developing world remain offline. Off the nearly one billion people living in the Least Developing Countries‚ 851 million do not use the Internet.
Mobile broadband is the most dynamic market segment‚ with mobile-broadband penetration globally reaching 47 percent in 2015‚ a value that increased 12-fold since 2007. In 2015‚ 69 percent of the global population will be covered by 3G mobile broadband‚ up from 45 percent in 2011.
There is also a rapid extension of 3G mobile broadband into rural areas‚ and ITU estimates that 29 percent of the 3.4 billion people worldwide living in rural areas will be covered by 3G mobile broadband by the end of 2015.
Among the four billion people living in urban areas‚ 89 percent will have access to 3G mobile broadband.
Fixed-broadband uptake is growing at a slower pace with a seven percent annual increase over the past three years. While the prices of fixed-broadband services dropped sharply between 2008 and 2011 in developing countries‚ they have been stagnating since then and even increased slightly in Least Developing Countries.
The figures indicate that broadband is now affordable in 111 countries‚ with the cost of a basic (fixed or mobile) broadband plan corresponding to less than five percent of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita‚ thus meeting the target set by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
The global average cost of a basic fixed-broadband plan‚ as measured in PPP$ (or purchasing power parity $)‚ is 1.7 times higher than the average cost of a comparable mobile-broadband plan. Differences in broadband speed persist‚ the report shows‚ with Korea republic‚ France and Ireland faring well whereas downloading information would require patience in Zambia‚ Zimbabwe‚ Pakistan and Senegal
The ITU report tracks ICT progress and shows gaps in connectivity since the year 2000‚ when world leaders established the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
-RDM News Wire
This article was taken from: http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2015/05/26/Over-seven-billion-mobile-broadband-subscriptions on the 02/06/2015.