New figures released by UN-attached agency International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicate that, by end 2014, there will be almost three 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. Fifty-five percent of these subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.
?If we want to understand the information society, we have to measure it,? Brahima Sanou, 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.
Mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach almost 7 billion by 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 percent of the world?s total.
Data show that mobile-cellular growth rates have reached their lowest-ever level (2.6 percent globally), indicating that the market is approaching saturation levels.
Africa and Asia and the Pacific, where penetration will reach 69 percent and 89 percent, respectively by end 2014, are the regions with the strongest mobile-cellular growth (and the lowest penetration rates).
Penetration rates in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Arab States, the Americas and Europe have reached levels above 100 percent and are expected to grow at less than two percent in 2014. The region with the highest mobile-cellular penetration rate is the CIS.
By end 2014, fixed-broadband penetration will have reached almost 10 percent globally.
Forty-four percent of all fixed-broadband subscriptions are in Asia and the Pacific, and 25 percent are in Europe. In contrast, Africa accounts for less than 0.5 percent of the world?s fixed-broadband subscriptions, and despite double-digit growth over the last four years, penetration in Africa remains very low.
Africa, the Arab States, and CIS are the only regions with double-digit fixed-broadband penetration growth rates. The Americas region stands out with the lowest growth in fixed broadband penetration, estimated at 2.5 percent and reaching a penetration rate of around 17 percent by end 2014.
Europe?s fixed-broadband penetration is much higher compared with other regions and almost three times as high as the global average.
Globally, mobile-broadband penetration will reach 32 percent by end 2014; in developed countries, mobile-broadband penetration will reach 84 percent, a level four times as high as in developing countries (21 percent).
The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally and 55 percent of all mobile-broadband subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.
Mobile-broadband penetration levels are highest in Europe (64 percent) and the Americas (59 percent), followed by CIS (49 percent), the Arab States (25 percent), Asia-Pacific (23 percent) and Africa (19 percent).
By end 2014, 44 percent of the world?s households will have Internet access. Close to one-third (31 percent) of households in developing countries will be connected to the Internet, compared with 78 percent in developed countries.
The analysis shows that household Internet access is approaching saturation levels in developed countries.
More than one out of two households in the CIS will be connected to the Internet. In Africa, only about one out of ten households will be connected to the Internet. However, household Internet access in Africa continues to grow at double-digit rates.
By end 2014, the number of Internet users globally will have reached almost 3 billion. Two-thirds of the world?s Internet users are from the developing world.
This corresponds to an Internet-user penetration of 40 percent globally, 78 percent in developed countries and 32 percent in developing countries. More than 90 percent of the people who are not yet using the Internet are from the developing world.
In Africa, almost 20 percent of the population will be online by end 2014, up from 10 percent in 2010.
In the Americas, close to two out of three people will be using the Internet by end 2014, the second highest penetration rate after Europe. Europe?s Internet penetration will reach 75 percent (or three out of four people) by end 2014, the highest worldwide.
One-third of the population in Asia and the Pacific will be online by end 2014 and around 45 percent of the world?s Internet users will be from the Asia-Pacific region.