The world will have 4,6bn mobile phone users by the end of the year, according to new research from the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU). At the same time, mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to reach 600m.
According to the ITU’s “The World in 2009: ICT Facts and Figures” shows there are now more mobile broadband subscribers worldwide than fixed.
More than a quarter of the world’s population is now online and using the Internet. Fixed broadband subscriber numbers will treble from 150m in 2004 to about 500m by the end of 2009.
Rapid high-speed Internet growth in the developed world contrasts starkly with the state of play in the developing world, however.
In Africa, there is only one fixed broadband subscriber for every 1 000 inhabitants, compared with Europe where there are about 200 subscribers per 1 000 people. The relative price for broadband is highest in Africa, the region with the lowest income levels. The report finds that China has the world’s largest fixed broadband market, overtaking its closest rival, the US, at the end of 2008.
ITU estimates show that three quarters of households now own a television set and more than a quarter of people globally — some 1,9bn — now has access to a computer at home. This demonstrates the huge market potential in developing countries, where TV penetration is already high, for converged devices, as the mobile, television and Internet worlds collide. — Staff reporter, TechCentral