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How emerging markets drive world telecoms growth

ByPrince Osuagwu

ICT development has been astonishing in every region of the world over the past five years but recent developments have proven that the developing world and emerging markets actually drive the telecom successes in the entire world at the moment.

Admitted that over a hundred countries of the world has passed 100 percent in mobile penetration but the rave of the moment is Africa, one of the emerging markets, where there still exists untapped human market for mobile penetration.

At the last count, Eastern Europe is said to be counting about 126.6 percent mobile penetration at the end of 2010. Western Europe also is said to be trailing with 118 percent penetration. This is even when the North and Southern Americas are also said to be fast approaching saturation.

This clearly indicates that if the efforts to connect the next one billion unconnected people are to be intensified, it must focus in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Africa. Although the Asia Pacific region itself is also moving towards saturation with about 68.6 percent as at last quarter of 2010.

Interestingly, in Africa, mobile cellular penetration is also moving, closing at 41.4% in 2010. This was higher than it had been in Asia_Pacific three years earlier, where in 2007 it reached 36.4%. This development gives a good signal emerging markets potential to keep world development in progression

Yet statistics from the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, says that there were as many fixed broadband subscriptions in the developing world in 2010 as there were in the developed world in 2008. Two years earlier, developed world accounted for 251 million while the developing world is now accounting for 253 million. China alone is said to account for around half of all the developing world’s fixed broadband subscriptions.

It also followed that there were more mobile broadband subscriptions in the developing world in 2010, accounting for 309 million than there were in the whole world in 2007 which accounted for 307 million, just three years earlier.

Perhaps mobile penetration saturation in most of the developed world accounted for goodluck for the developing economies as ITU stated that there were almost as many mobile cellular subscriptions in the developing world in 2010, which accounts for 3.8 billion as there were in the whole world in 2008 which closed at 4 billion, and half a billion more than there were in the developed world in 2007.

By 2010, developing world Internet users accounted for 58% of the global total, with 1.2 billion, compared to 900 million in the developed world. But with most of the world’s population living in developing countries, only a fifth of people there are online, compared to almost three quarters in richer nations.

The ITU statistics also alluded that the Commonwealth of Independent States has the highest mobile cellular penetration of any region in the world, reaching over 130% in 2010.

Even in the area of Short Messaging Services, SMS, developing economies also showed some appreciable improvement, as 40 billion SMS messages were sent in the Arab States in 2010, up from under 10 billion in 2005.

Predictions are that at current growth rates, there will be well over a thousand SMS messages sent in 2011 for every person on the planet.

Following statistics, there were about 2.8 trillion SMS messages sent in 2008; 4.3 trillion in 2009; and 6.1 trillion in 2010.

However, it is in internet penetration that the developed world also showed class. There are more than 400 million Internet users in Europe. This means that two thirds of its population are online and with that, it is the region with the highest Internet penetration in the world.

But most of 2010’s mobile growth was in Asia-Pacific, which saw the number of mobile cellular subscriptions grow by 490 million, to reach 2.6 billion.For the first time, Asia-Pacific now has over half the world’s mobile cellular subscriptions.

However, in Africa, mobile broadband subscriptions grew almost 15-fold over the last three years, from 2 to 29 million. But, despite strong growth, however, Africa remains easily the least Internet-enabled continent, with fewer than one in ten Africans online, and mobile broadband penetration below 4%.


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