May 22, 2022

New Statistical Report from ITU: Measuring the Information Society

Note: The complete report released today by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). The full text (minus a statistics annex is available) along with a 36 page exec summary is available and embedded below.

Selected Findings (PDF)

  • ICT uptake continues to grow: The number of mobile-cellular subscriptions increased by more than 600 million (almost all of them in the developing world), to a total of around 6 billion, or 86 per 100 inhabitants, globally by the end of 2011.
  • By end 2011, more than one-third of the population (i.e. 2.3 billion people) worldwide was online.
  • By end 2011, the number of fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions had climbed to almost 600 million, corresponding to a global penetration rate of 8.5 per cent. This compares with around 530 million, and 7.7 per cent penetration, a year earlier.
  • At the end of 2011, there were almost twice as many active mobile-broadband as fixed-broadband subscriptions.
  • While in many high-income, developed economies the majority of fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions deliver very high speeds, many subscriptions in developing countries are limited to speeds below 2 Mbit/s. This restricts the type and quality of applications and services that users can access.
  • Between 2010 and 2011, almost all 155 countries included in the IDI improved their IDI values but huge differences among countries persist. The IDI value range of countries has increased slightly between 2010 and 2011, indicating a widening of the gap between the country at the top and the country at the bottom of the index.
  • The Republic of Korea tops the IDI 2011, followed by Sweden, for the second consecutive year. The other top ten countries (in order) are Denmark, Iceland, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Japan, the United Kingdom and Switzerland (for the complete ranking, see Table 2.2 on page 21 of the report).
  • Global revenues from telecommunication services reached USD 1.5 trillion in 2010, recovering moderately since the 2008 downturn. Revenues from developing economies represented 35 per cent.
  • While in developed economies telecommunication revenues stagnated, in developing countries they grew by 22 per cent between 2007 and 2010, driven by the expansion in subscriptions.
  • In developed economies telecommunication revenues are under pressure owing to the highly competitive nature of their markets and near saturation achieved in the mobile segment. Even though subscriptions continued to grow, telecommunication spending per subscription declined.
  • In developed countries, mobile represented 47 per cent of total telecommunication revenues, with mobile data being the most important driver.
  • Globally average revenue per subscription declined between 2007 and 2010, mirroring the evolution of mobile-cellular prices. Mobile revenues per subscription are higher in developed than in developing countries.
  • Mobile-cellular services represent almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of total telecommunication revenues.

More Findings in the News Release


  • Full Text (without Annex 4) (230 pages; PDF)
    “Annex 4 features the statistical tables of prices used to compute the ICT Price Basket. It includes detailed price data for 161 countries broken down by cost of fixed- telephone, mobile-cellular and fixed-broadband services, for the year 2011.”

Measuring the Information Society 2012 (Executive Summary)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.