Predictably, developing countries register highest mobile growth globally


Measuring the Information Society reportLast week, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released the Measuring Information Society report, a report that details the state of the telecommunications industry globally. The report shows that developing countries have registered the most dynamic growth in mobile in the year 2011. According to the ITU, the trend is evidence that many developing countries are catching up quickly in efforts to bridge the ‘digital divide’.

Countries identified to have grown the most in mobile include Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda Zimbabwe, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Saudi Arabia. The report says by the end of 2011 the world had a total 6 billion mobile subscriptions with China and India accounting for a billion subscriptions each!

In a summary of the trends posted on the ITU website, the organisation noted the following:

  • Mobile broadband continues to be the ICT service displaying the sharpest growth rates. Over the past year, growth in mobile-broadband services continued at 40% globally and 78% in developing countries.
  • There are now twice as many mobile-broadband subscriptions as fixed-broadband subscriptions worldwide.
  • The prices of ICTs services in developing countries continue to fall at double-digit rates. In developed countries the prizes have largely stabilized.
  • In 2010, global exports of ICT goods accounted for 12% of world merchandise trade, and as much as 20% in developing countries.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, both telecom revenues and investment continued to grow by 22% in developing countries, whereas revenues stagnated in developed countries.
  • However, mobile revenues per subscription were higher in developed than in developing countries, with values of above USD 20 per month for the former and below USD 10 for the latter.
  • In terms of revenues, 9 out of the top 20 telecommunication markets are developing countries. In Africa, only South Africa made it into that top 20.
  • Developing countries accounted for 35% of world telecommunication revenue.
  • Developing countries are increasingly attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecommunications.
  • In terms of communication capacity, there has been a shift away from voice-based telephony to (fixed and mobile) data services as the major contributor of global subscribed capacity in telecommunications.


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