According ‘The World in 2013: ICT Facts and Figures’ report released yesterday by the ITU, the global mobile penetration is now over 100 per cent in four of the world’s six regions, with Asia leading the pack.
Despite this tremendous growth, a huge number of people who are yet to access global communication services still exist.
ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré, while speaking to government ministers gathered at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, said: “We have made the most extraordinary progress in the first twelve years of the new millennium… and yet we still have far to go. Two thirds of the world’s population – some 4.5 billion people – is still offline.”
The ITU attributes the growth in subscriptions to the continued increase in demand for information and communication technology (ICT) services and a general fall in the price of broadband internet.
The telecommunications body also estimates that 2.7 billion people, or 39 per cent of the world’s population, will be using the internet by end 2013.
Africa has recorded the fastest growth in the number of households with an internet connection, averaging an annual growth of 27 per cent. This is however small growth compared to the 1.1 billion households yet to be connected to the internet in the developing world.
Broadband still remains highest in developing countries, where it costs over 30 per cent of GNI per capita, as compared to less than 2 per cent in the developed regions like Europe.