Mobile broadband connections over 3G and 3G+ networks are growing at an average annual rate of 40 percent, equating to 2.1 billion mobile-broadband subscriptions and a global penetration rate of almost 30 percent.
Almost 50 percent of all people worldwide are now covered by a 3G network, said ITU’s flagship annual report Measuring the Information Society 2013.
By end of 2013 there will be 6.8 billion total mobile-cellular subscriptions – almost as many as there are people on the planet.
An estimated 2.7 billion people will also be connected to the Internet – though speeds and prices vary widely, both across and within regions.
The Republic of Korea leads the world in terms of overall ICT development for the third consecutive year, followed closely by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong (China) also rank in the top 10, with the UK nudging into the top 10 group from 11 position last year.
The report identifies a group of most dynamic countries, which have recorded above-average improvements in their IDI rank or value over the past 12 months. These include (in order of most improved): United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Barbados, Seychelles, Belarus, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Zambia, Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Zimbabwe.
In the four years between 2008-2012 fixed-broadband prices fell by 82 percent from 115.1 percent of average monthly income per capita (GNI p.c.) in 2008 to 22.1 percent in 2012.
The biggest drop occurred in developing countries, where fixed-broadband prices fell by 30 percent year on year between 2008 and 2011.
The average price per unit of speed (Mbps) also decreased significantly between 2008 and 2012, with a global median price of $19.50 per Mbps in 2012, almost a quarter of the price that was being charged in 2008.
Austria has the world’s most affordable mobile broadband, while Sao Tomé and Principe, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have the least affordable, with service cost equal to or higher than average monthly gross national income (GNI) per capita. Other countries that rank well for mobile broadband affordability include Qatar, the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait and France.
At the beginning of 2013 almost 80 percent of households globally had a TV, compared with 41 percent of households with a computer and 37 percent with Internet access.
The report shows that the number of households with Internet access is increasing in all regions, but large differences persist, with penetration rates at the end of this year set to reach almost 80 percent in the developed world, compared with 28 percent in the developing world.
An estimated 1.1 billion households worldwide are not yet connected to the Internet, 90 percent of which are in the developing world.
Internet users as a percentage of the population have been growing on average at double-digit rates over the past ten years. The percentage of the population online in the developed world will reach almost 77 percent by end 2013, compared with 31 percent in the developing world.