New ITU report shows global uptake of ICTs increasing, prices falling
- Sweden tops ICT ranking for the second year in a row
- Broadband prices drop 42 per cent from 2008-2009
- Demand strongest in developing countries
Geneva, 23 February 2010 — Prices for information and communication
technology (ICT) services are falling worldwide, yet broadband Internet remains
outside the reach of many in poor countries, ITU says in its Measuring the
Information Society 2010 report released today.
The report features the latest ICT Development Index (IDI),
which ranks 159 countries according to their ICT level and compares 2007 and
2008 scores. "The report confirms that despite the recent economic downturn, the
use of ICT services has continued to grow worldwide," says Sami Al Basheer Al
Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). All 159
countries included in the IDI have improved their ICT levels, and mobile
cellular technology continues to be a key driver of growth. In 2010, ITU expects
the global number of mobile cellular subscriptions to top five billion. "At the
same time, the report finds that the price of telecommunication services is
falling — a most encouraging development," said Mr Al Basheer.
The IDI combines 11 indicators into a single measure
that can be used as a benchmarking tool globally, regionally, and at national
level, as well as helping track progress over time. It measures ICT access, use
and skills, and includes such indicators as households with a computer, the
number of fixed broadband Internet subscribers, and literacy rates.
The world’s Top 10 most advanced ICT economies features eight
countries from Northern Europe, with Sweden topping the IDI for the
second year in a row. The Republic of Korea and Japan rank third and eighth,
|Figure 1: Source: ITU
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain top the list of Arab
States, with Russia and Belarus leading ICT development in the CIS. In Africa,
only the Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa are included in the top 100.
Given the close relationship between ICT uptake and national income, most poor
countries rank at the low end of the IDI. In particular, the Least
Developed Countries – many of which are in Africa — still have very limited
access to ICTs, especially in terms of broadband infrastructure and household
access to ICTs.
|Figure 2: Source: ITU
Mobile still king
Mobile cellular technology continues to be the main driver of
ICT growth, especially in the developing world, where average mobile penetration
surpassed the 50 per cent mark in 2009. Today, over 70 economies worldwide have
surpassed the 100 per cent penetration mark, with developed countries averaging
113 per cent by the end of last year.
While high-speed Internet access is now available in almost all countries,
fixed broadband penetration in the developing world remains as low as 3.5 per
cent, compared to 23 per cent in developed countries.
Prices are falling but broadband remains outside the reach of many
The report shows that globally the price of telecommunication
and Internet services is falling. The 2009 ICT Price Basket, which
includes 161 countries, combines the average cost of fixed telephone, mobile
cellular, and Internet broadband services. Fixed broadband services showed the
largest price fall (42 per cent), compared to 25 and 20 per cent in mobile
cellular and fixed telephone services, respectively.
Despite this significant drop, ICT services,
especially fixed broadband access, remain out of the reach of many people. In
2009, the ICT Price Basket corresponded on average to 13 per cent of Gross
National Income (GNI) per capita, ranging from 1.5 per cent in developed
countries to 17.5 per cent in developing countries. In other words, countries
with high income levels pay relatively little for ICT services, while countries
with low income levels pay relatively more. For example, an entry-level
broadband connection costs on average as much as 167 per cent of GNI in
developing countries, compared to only two per cent in developed countries.
Economies with the lowest price of ICT services relative to income include Macao
(China), Hong Kong (China), Singapore, Luxembourg, Denmark and the UK.
|Figure 3: Source: ITU
|Figure 4: Source: ITU
Within the UN system, ITU is the main source of internationally comparable
data and statistics on ICT. The Market Information and Statistics
Division of the Telecommunication Development
Bureau (BDT) collects, harmonizes and disseminates more than 100
telecommunication and ICT indicators from over 200 economies worldwide. Data are
accessible online through the ICT Eye portal, on CD and in print publications. The Market Information and Statistics Division
regularly publishes analytical reports illustrating the latest trends in the
An Executive Summary of the report can be found at: www.itu.int/newsroom/press_releases/2010/pdf/PR08_ExecSum.pdf
High resolution photos can be found at: www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/photolibrary/
Journalists wishing to receive a free copy of the full report in PDF format should contact the ITU Press Office at email@example.com.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
|Tel:||+41 22 730 6135
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Head, Market Information and Statistics Division, ITU
|Tel:||+41 22 730 5937
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