According to ITU’s “World Society Report 2006″ more and more people are connecting to mobile networks than ever. Especially in China, Russia and India are driving this business, so International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reported. From worldwide 2.1 billion mobile subscriberin 2005 ITU is expecting more than 3 billion users in 2008 – pretty 50% of all people on earth…
Vanessa Gray, Telecommunication Analyst at ITU said in a press release that “there are now more ICT users worldwide and more people communicating than at any other time in history,” said Gray. “By the end of 2004, the world counted a total of 3 billion telephone subscribers, 1.8 billion mobile subscribers and 1.2 billion fixed lines. Both the number of mobile subscribers and the number of internet users more than doubled in just four years. The world had over 840 million internet users, which means that on average 13 per cent of the world’s population was online.”
Overall, the digital divide has been reduced. “Our statistics show that within four year, from 2000 to 2004, the gap separating the developing and the developed countries has been shrinking in terms of mobile subscribers, fixed telephone lines and Internet users”, said Gray. The gap (or digital divide) is measured by dividing the ICT penetration rate in the developed world by the ICT penetration rate in the developing world. “Phenomenal growth rates in the mobile sector, particularly, have been able to reduce the gap from 9 in the year 2000, to 4 by the end of 2004. This gap has also been reduced in terms of fixed lines, from 6 to 4 in four years, and from 15 to 8 in terms of Internet users”, Gray explains.
Yet, major differences persist in penetration levels. In 2004, almost one third of the population in Europe and the Americas was online, compared to 8 per cent in Asia and the Pacific. Europe has almost 15 times the internet penetration of Africa, where less than 2 per cent use the internet. In the Arab states, too, less than 6 out of 100 people are online. As for broadband access, Africa and the Arab states are lagging behind Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America which account for 97 per cent of all subscribers.