The UN organisation for information and telecommunications issues based in Geneva, Switzerland, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has published a report, The World In 2010, ICT Facts And Figures, which outlines the growth of online activity and mobile use globally.
It shows the rapid growth of online use over the past five years, (Internet use has doubled between 2005 – 2010) and says the number of internet users worldwide will surpass the 2 billion mark by the end of the year. However, only 1.2 billion of this number represents users in developing countries, says the report. It says while 71 percent of the population are online in developed countries, only 21 percent are online in the developing world.
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|Internet Users By Region.
Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database
China represents the largest internet market in the world with 420 million users. And countries such as Estonia, Finland and Spain are following Tim Berners Lee’s vision for the internet, having declared access to the internet as a legal right for citizens.
The report also highlights the use of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, estimating 5.3 billion users worldwide, including 940 million subscriptions to 3G services. It says access to mobile networks is now available to 90 percent of the world population and 80 percent of the population living in rural areas.
In 2010, more than 143 countries are offering 3G services commercially, both in the developed world and developing countries. Some countries, including Sweden, Norway, Ukraine and the US are also moving towards next generation 4G wireless platforms.
However, it says mobile cellular growth is slowing worldwide, because it is reaching saturation point in developed coutries with 116 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants at the end of 2010, and a marginal growth of 1.6 percent from 2009-2010. At the same time, the developing world has increased its share of mobile subscriptions from 53 percent of total mobile subscriptions at the end of 2005 to 73 percent at the end of 2010.
In the developing world, mobile cellular penetration rates will reach 68 percent at the end of 2010 – mainly driven by the Asia and Pacific region. India and China alone are expected to add over 300 million mobile subscriptions in 2010. However, there is significant potential for growth in the African region, where penetration rates will reach an estimated 41 percent at the end of 2010 (compared to 76 percent globally).
Meanwhile the total number of SMS sent globally tripled between 2007 and 2010, from an estimated 1.8 trillion to a staggering 6.1 trillion. In other words, close to 200,000 text messages are sent every second. Assuming an average cost of USD 0.07 per SMS, in 2010 SMS traffic is generating an estimated USD 812,000 every minute (or around USD 14,000 every second).
In 2009, SMS revenue accounted for 12 percent of China’s largest mobile operator’s total revenue. The Philippines and the United States combined accounted for 35 percent of all SMS sent in 2009.