Communications Technology demand and uptake are growing
globally, driven in part by a steady decline in price.
That is according to a new International Telecommunications
Union report that predicts there will soon be as many mobile cellular
subscriptions as people on the planet. It predicts that number of those subs
will surpass seven billion by early 2014.
Asia now claims more than half of all those subscriptions.
By the end of 2013, ITU predicts, overall global penetration will have topped
96%. The report looks at regions, though there are some individual country
stats as well.
The U.S. fixed wireless and wired broadband service is tops
in the Americas in high-speed broadband subscriptions (which ITU defines as at
least 10 Mbps downstream) at about 58%, but that puts it in 14th place
globally, according to ITU.
Household access growth is strongest in Africa, while
developing countries' growth rates is at their lowest levels ever. But that
simply highlights the problem with measuring growth rates. Africa is highest
because its penetration is lowest at just 16%, so any increase is magnified,
while a number of the regions, including the Americas, are at over 100% -- some
folks have more than one subscription.
ITU estimates that by year's end, 2.7 billion people will be
using the Internet, or more than a third (39%) of the world's population, and
41% of households.
The figures were released at the Mobile World Congress in