There will be more than seven billion mobile subscriptions globally by the end of this year, up from 738 million in 2000, according to a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Globally, 3.2 billion people will be using the internet, including two billion in developing countries, it said, adding that internet penetration is expected to jump to 43 per cent from 6.5 per cent, with the proportion of households with internet access at home advanced to 46 per cent this year from 18 per cent in 2005. “Still, the ITU believes four billion people in the developing world will remain offline by year-end.”
Off the nearly one billion people living in the Least Developing Countries (LDCs), 851 million do not use the internet.
Meanwhile, mobile broadband is the most dynamic market segment, with mobile-broadband penetration globally set to reach 47 per cent, up by 12-fold from 2007. By year-end, 69 per cent of the global population will be covered by 3G mobile broadband, up from 45 per cent in 2011.
As to 3G mobile broadband in rural areas, ITU estimates that 29 per cent of the 3.4 billion people worldwide living in rural areas will be covered by 3G by the end of the year. Among the four billion people living in urban areas, 89 per cent will have access to 3G mobile broadband.
Fixed-broadband uptake is growing at a slower pace with a seven per cent annual increase over the past three years. While the prices of fixed-broadband services dropped sharply between 2008 and 2011 in developing countries, they have been stagnating since then and even increased slightly in LDCs.
The report showed that broadband is now affordable in 111 countries, with the cost of a basic – fixed or mobile – broadband plan corresponding to less than five per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, meeting the target set by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
The global average cost of a basic fixed-broadband plan, as measured in PPP US dollar (or purchasing power parity in US dollar), is 1.7 times higher than the average cost of a comparable mobile-broadband plan.

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