Pakistan is among the five countries of Asia in terms of increased penetration of mobile phones, internet and broadband, according to the Information Economy Report 2009, recently published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
In terms of mobile penetration, Iran and Maldives top the list, Pakistan is at the third position, followed by Sri Lanka and Bhutan. While, in internet penetration, Pakistan is again at the third position where as at fourth position in terms of broadband penetration.
The report suggests the mobile industry as a ‘cash cow’ in some countries for instance like Pakistan, was facing major macroeconomic problems, yet the mobile market kept flourishing as the global economic recession didn’t have any major impact on the global mobile network.
The fixed lines market didn’t see any growth. The number of fixed lines have frozen at 1.2 billion since 2006 and even saw a decline in 2008. Since 2004, developing countries have accounted for just over half of all fixed telephone lines.
Global fixed tele-density (fixed telephone subscriptions divided by population and multiplied by 100)stood at 18 in 2008. In developed countries, tele-density was 47, while in developing countries it was 12.
According to an estimate, there were 1.4 billion internet users at the end of 2008. The growth rate of 15% was slightly lower than in 2007. The developing countries saw the most growth compared to the developed countries. As a result, developing countries now account for more than half of the world’s internet users.
In 2008, a little over one fifth of the world’s population used the internet. Public internet facilities, like internet cafes, libraries and community centers are also important for boosting internet usage in the developing countries.
- China had 298 million internet users.
- America had 191 million interet users.
- Japan had 88 million internet users.
In 2008, developed countries dominated the fixed broadband market; where as developing countries only accounted for the total 40% growth. There were an estimated 398 million fixed broadband subscribers around the world in 2008. Global average broadband penetration stood at 5.9, only striking differences between developed and developing economies.
Developing countries have a good chance to dominate the mobile sector. According to the latest data, growth continued in the two largest developing country mobile markets – China and India – also in 2009.
The report estimated that the value of exports of information and communication technologies (ICTs) goods rose from $813 billion to $1.73 trillion between 1998 and 2007, representing 13 per cent of all merchandise trade.
The increase was almost entirely attributable to developing Asia. Other developing regions as well as economies in transition remain marginal exporters of ICT goods. While exports of ICT goods such as computers and consumer electronic devices have been hit hard by the global recession, IT and ICT-related services appear to have been more resilient, the report notes.
According to market analysts, the global market for the off-shoring of IT and ICT-enabled services was estimated to be worth around $90 billion in 2008, of which IT services accounted for 60 per cent.