What a decade...
Mobile penetration over 100% in 97 economies; global Internet user penetration reaches 30%
The first decade of the new Millennium saw extraordinary progress made in ICT development globally. While gaps still remain between the developed and developing world – especially concerning Internet use – the developing world is only a few years behind.
- At the end of 2010 – while more than 2.6 billion people worldwide still lacked access to toilets or other forms of improved sanitation1 – there were almost 4 billion mobile cellular subscriptions2 in the developing world.
- Mobile cellular penetration in the developing world reached 70% at the end of 2010 – just six years after reaching 70% in the developed world.
- In 2002 there were just two countries in the world with mobile cellular penetration over 100% . Eight years later, almost 100 economies had mobile cellular penetration over 100%3 – and 17 economies had penetration rates above 150%4.
- Global Internet user penetration reached 30% in 2010; Internet user penetration in developed countries reached 30% just nine years earlier, in 2001.
- In the year 2000, Internet user penetration was under 1% in 72 economies. Ten years later, there were just 6 economies with Internet user penetration under 1%. Internet user penetration in the developing world as a whole reached 21% in 2010.
- Global Internet penetration in 2010 (30%) was higher than global fixed (16%) or mobile (12%) telephone penetration in the year 2000.
Mobile cellular and Internet user penetration grew impressively in all regions of the world over the past decade.
- Mobile cellular penetration in Africa in 2010 (45.2%) was higher than mobile cellular penetration in the Americas in 2004 (42.8%). Mobile cellular penetration in the Americas had grown to 94.5% by 2010.
- Mobile cellular penetration in Asia and the Pacific in 2010 (69.2%) was higher than mobile cellular penetration in Europe eight years earlier (67.0%). Mobile cellular penetration in Europe had grown to 117.7% by 2010.
- Internet user penetration in Africa grew over 20-fold in the decade to 2010, from 0.5% to 10.8%. This gave Africa higher Internet user penetration in 2010, than in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) five years earlier. In CIS, meanwhile, Internet penetration grew from 10.2% in 2005 to 34.0% in 2010.
- Internet user penetration in Asia and the Pacific grew from 3.3% in 2000 to 22.5% in 2010, bringing it close to Internet user penetration in Europe nine years earlier (23.0%). By 2010, Internet user penetration in Europe had grown to 67.0%.
LDCs forge ahead in mobile but still need to come online
In 2010, 833 million people were living in the 49 UN-designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In spite of these being the world’s poorest countries, and much remaining still to be done, mobile phone services across the LDCs grew steadily throughout the first decade of the new Millennium.
- While the number of urban residents in developing countries living in slum conditions grew from 767 million to 828 million in the past decade5, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions grew from 2 to 280 million and the number of Internet users grew more than fifty-fold, from well under a million to almost 38 million.
- In 2010, almost two thirds of people in LDCs had mobile cellular coverage, and mobile cellular penetration had reached 34% – up from just 5% only five years earlier, and close to the global figure for 2005. In just two of the 49 LDCs was mobile penetration still below 5% in 2010.
- Internet user penetration in LDCs grew from 0.1% in the year 2000 to 4.6% in 2010. This is still far below the target set by the LDC III conference in 2001, of having 10% of people in LDCs online by 2010, however.
Data and analysis in this ITU Statshot are drawn from the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database.
Further ICT statistics are available online at ITU’s ICT Eye:
ITU also publishes a full range of current statistics and analyses. For further information see:
1 Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 - http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
2 Active SIM cards
3 The two countries were Israel and Luxembourg
4 The 17 economies are: Anguilla, Finland, Maldives, Kuwait, St Kitts & Nevis; Oman, Russia, Suriname, Libya, Viet Nam, Cayman Islands, Antigua & Barbuda, Panama, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong (China) and Macao (China)
5 Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 - http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/