Developing world driving world connectivity growth


The ITU has just published its latest ICT facts and figures report, which makes for interesting - although not exactly surprising - reading. Headline figures include:

Mobile connectivity 

  • The spread of mobile connectivity, with networks now covering some 90% of the world's population (including 80% of the rural population);
  • By the end of 2010, there will be more than 5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, including 940 million subscriptions to 3G services - definitely impressive given that the world's population is estimated at 6.7 billion;
  • Unsurprisingly some of this penetration is evidence of saturation levels in developed markets, which are now calculated to be 116 subs per 100 population in developed countries;
  • But the developing world now has the most subscriptions - making up 73% of the total number;
  • Africa is lagging the rest of the developing world in mobile penetration - only up to 41% compared to 68% across the developing world as a whole;
  • India and China are driving subscription growth in the developing world - they alone will add 300 million subscriptions in 2010.
  • SMS is still massively popular - with the numbers of messages sent tripling between 2007 and 2010, up to 6.1 trillion;

Internet and broadband

  • The number of Internet users has doubled between 2005 and 2010, and will surpass 2 billion in 2010;
  • The largest proportion of these - 1.2 billion - will be in developing countries;
  • China alone has 420 million Internet users - making it the largest market in the world;
  • There is still a massive penetration gap between the developing world and the developed in terms of penetration - 21% vs 71%. And in Africa it is just 9.6%;
  • The developed and developing world has experienced strong broadband growth, with fixed broadband connectivity subscriptions now estimated at 555 million;
  • By the end of 2010, the developing world will account for 45% of fixed broadband subscriptions;
  • The price for broadband in developing countries is still far too high - as covered in earlier research.

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.