Mobile broadband connections over 3G and 3G+ networks are growing at an average annual rate of 40 per cent, equating to 2.1 billion mobile-broadband subscriptions and a global penetration rate of almost 30 per cent. Almost 50 per cent of all people worldwide are now covered by a 3G network.
This is apparent from annual report of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), technical arm of the United Nations, which analyzes the evolution of the information society in the world.
This sharp increase in mobile Internet segment has been driven primarily by developing countries, where these types of contracts doubled in the last two years, with a level of penetration that spanned 75% versus 20% of countries developed.
“In developed countries, the mobile broadband is a complement rather than a substitute for, the broadband connection at home,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure, in presenting the study today in Geneva.
The report also notes that about half of the world population has accessibility to Internet connection on mobile through 3G networks.
The expansion of mobile broadband goes along with the spread of mobile devices around the world, since according to the report data at the end of 2013, 6,800 million people will have some sort of mobile phone contract, almost as many as people on the planet.
Overall, about 2,700 million people have Internet access worldwide via mobile or a broadband connection at home.
The report also provides a ranking of the 157 countries that progress accomplished in 2012 in the field of information technology and communication (ICT) through Development Index that compares variables such as ICT access, use and skills, between countries and compared to previous year’s data.
This ranking is the third straight year led by South Korea, followed closely by the Nordic countries, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway, in that order.
Netherlands, United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong completed the top ten.
The top thirty countries in this list are developed economies, where the index of ICT Development is twice as high as developing countries, which, according to Toure, confirms “the relationship between income and development of these technologies and the information society. ”
The dynamism of the countries that have made progress in the last year, above average, such as the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Barbados, Seychelles, Belarus, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Zambia, Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Zimbabwe.
The most backward countries in the development of ICT is the sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Niger, Ghana, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia.
A total of 39 countries classified as “very dynamic”, which bring together some 2,400 million people, about a third of the world population, and, according highlight from ITU, it could enjoy “great improvements in areas such as education, health or employment with greater access to these technologies.”
Pricewise, the report states that between 2008 and 2012 the average price of fixed broadband connection fell by 82%, a decline driven by developing countries, where prices dropped 30% per year in 2008-2011.
In 2012, the average price per megabyte rate was $ 19.50 (14.30 EUR) a quarter of what it cost in 2008.
This report establishes for the first time the number of digital natives, which amounted in 2012 to 363 million people, only 5.2% of the world population, but represent 30% of young people (aged 15-24 years) of worldwide.