Use of mobile phones and the Internet continues to skyrocket despite a huge difference in broadband pricing worldwide, a new study from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has found.
According to the United Nations-run organization, a whopping 6.1 trillion text messages will be sent by the end of 2010. That figure, which has tripled in the past three years, means people around the globe are sending 200,000 text messages every second.
Mobile phones are now available to 90 percent of the world's population. And so far, customers are taking advantage. The ITU estimates that there will be 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions by the end of the year. And in developed countries, there are an average of 116 subscriptions per 100 people.
Not surprisingly, mobile broadband has also seen growth over the past few years. The ITU found that there are currently over 940 million 3G subscriptions around the globe. In 2005, there were just 72 million 3G subscriptions.
The mobile market isn't the only space that's growing.
The ITU said that Web usage has doubled in the past five years. And by the end of 2010, the organization believes more than 2 billion people around the globe will be using the Internet. In addition, the number of people who have access to the Web in their homes has increased to 1.6 billion this year. That figure stood at 1.4 billion at the end of 2009.
Out of the 226 million new Internet users in 2010, 162 million are from developing countries, the ITU found. However, it expects that just 21 percent of people in developing countries will have Internet access, compared to 71 percent of those in developed countries. Even worse, just 9.6 percent of people living in Africa are on the Internet, the organization said. About 65 percent of Europeans and 55 percent of people living in the Americas have access to the Internet.
Broadband adoption and cost continue to be major barriers to entry for Web users in developing countries. The ITU found that "fixed broadband penetration" will hit just 8 percent around the world, and there are just 4.4 broadband subscriptions per 100 people in developing countries.
Furthermore, the average price in 2009 of an "entry-level fixed broadband connection cost on average $190 per month in developing countries." That figure stood at just $28 per month in developed countries. The ITU found that broadband prices are "highest in Africa, the region with the lowest income levels."
In other words, some work is being done to expand Web and mobile access around the world. But significant work is still required to fully connect those that need it.