World now has 6bn mobile phone subscribers – ITU

12 Oct 2012

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has released new figures on global technology development, pointing to how mobile phone subscriptions reached 6bn globally by the end of 2011. Of that figure, both China and India each accounted for around 1bn subscriptions.

In its annual report, Measuring the Information Society 2012, the ITU said mobile subscriptions registered continuous double-digit growth in developing country markets to reach a global total of 6bn mobile phone subscriptions by the end of last year.

The ITU also rated the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.

Its ICT Development Index ranked 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills.

The report also pointed to the countries that have made the most progress in terms of ICT development. It said these ICT markets are mostly concentrated in the developing world, with these countries catching up quickly in terms of bridging the ‘digital divide’. The ITU said strong performers included Rwanda, Ghana, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Bahrain.

“Mobile broadband continues to be the ICT service displaying the sharpest growth rates. Over the past year, growth in mobile-broadband services continued at 40pc globally and 78pc in developing countries. There are now twice as many mobile-broadband subscriptions as fixed-broadband subscriptions worldwide,” said the ITU in a statement.

It also pointed to how the cost of ICT services fell by 30pc between 2008 and 2011, with the biggest decrease in fixed-broadband internet services, as average prices came down by 75pc.

“That said, fixed-broadband services still remain too expensive in most developing countries. By the end of 2011, the price of a basic, monthly fixed-broadband package represented over 40pc of monthly gross national income (GNI) per capita,” added the ITU.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic