Finley clients are hard at work building broadband networks that not only serve their communities, but interconnect them to the world. At times, it’s good to take a step back and put the global telecommunications market into perspective, and for that, we turn to the latest data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which is an international telecommunications agency based at The United Nations.
Their latest market research report reveals the impact that broadband is having on markets and industry worldwide. For example, nearly 3 billion people worldwide will use the Internet by year-end 2014, with two-thirds of them living in the developing world, according to ITU's latest statistics.
ITU market researchers forecast that mobile broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion worldwide by the end of the year, with 55 percent of them connecting in developing-world countries. Globally, mobile-broadband penetration will reach 32 percent, with penetration among developed countries reaching 84 percent, four-times greater as that for developing countries (21%).
Regionally, the highest mobile-broadband penetration rates are to be found in Europe (64%) and the Americas (59%), followed by the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS (49%), the Arab States (25%), Asia-Pacific (23%), and Africa (19%).
Fixed-line telephone penetration will continue to decline as that for mobile-cellular continues to increase. Declining for the past five years, ITU forecasts there will be about 100 million fewer fixed-line telephone subscriptions by the end of 2014 than there were in 2009.
In contrast, mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach nearly 7 billion, 3.6 billion of them in the Asia-Pacific region. Mobile-cellular subscriptions in the developing world will represent 78 percent of the global total, ITU points out.
Nonetheless, growth in mobile-cellular subscriptions is showing signs of reaching saturation, registering its lowest growth rate ever this year at 2.6 percent globally.
Mobile-cellular penetration in the two fastest growing and lowest-penetration regions – Africa and Asia-Pacific – will reach 69 percent and 89 percent, respectively, by year-end, according to ITU. Penetration rates in Arab countries, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as well as in the Americas and Europe, are already above 100 percent. ITU forecasts mobile penetration in these regions collectively will grow at less than a 2 percent rate in 2014, with CIS countries registering the highest rate of growth.
Turning to Internet penetration, ITU's market research revealed Internet-user penetration stands at 40 percent globally, 78 percent in developed countries and 32 percent in the developing world. Internet penetration in Africa will double from 10 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by year-end 2014.
Nearly two of three people across the Americas – nearly 3 billion people – will be Internet users by the end of the year, according to ITU, the second highest penetration rate after Europe, where Internet penetration will reach 75 percent. One-third of those living in the Asia-Pacific region will be Internet users come year-end, accounting for around 45 percent of Internet users globally.