UN agency reports phenomenal mobile telephone expansion in developing world

23 June 2010 – Nearly two billion additional mobile telephone connections were recorded across the world between 2006 and last year, the vast majority of them in developing countries, the United Nations Telecommunications Union (ITU) said in figures released today, which also show that fixed telephone lines in decline.

More than 1.6 billion of the 1.9 billion new cellular telephones lines were in poor countries, compared to fewer than 300 million in the developed world, according to the ITU statistics.

There were around 57 million fewer fixed telephone lines at the end of last year than there were at the end of 2006.

In many developing countries more than half of rural households now have a mobile phone.

In China and India, the two most populous nations in the world, over 90 per cent of villages are connected to mobile telephones.

The agency also reported that 75 per cent of households worldwide have television sets, but only 25 per cent have access to the Internet.

While close to two thirds of people in the developed world have access to the Internet, four fifths of people in the developing world do not.

The ITU, however, noted that most of the Internet growth is taking place in the developing world, which accounted for 600 million of the 777 million new Internet users worldwide between the end of 2005 and the end of last year.

By the end of 2008, there were more Internet users in the developing world than in the developed world, and in the four years to the end of 2009, fixed broadband penetration rates in the developing world almost tripled, and mobile broadband penetration rates grew more than tenfold, according to the ITU statistics.


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