The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has launched the 5th edition of its report – Measuring the Information Society (MIS). The report, which has been published annually since 2009, features key ICT data and benchmarking tools to measure the information society, including the 2012 ICT Development Index (IDI) which captures the level of ICT developments in 157 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the last year.
The MIS also presents the first comprehensive mobile-broadband price data set for almost 130 economies. It features a new model and data to measure the world’s digital native population – those young people who were born into the digital age – and a quantitative overview of digital TV broadcasting trends.
The UAE has made significant progress in increasing its ranking in the IDI. Page 33 of the MIS 2013 provides: The United Arab Emirates records the highest increase in rank, shooting up 12 places to 33rd in the IDI 2012. Value increases in the access and use sub-indices are both considerably above the global average. All indicators included in the access sub-index showed improvement from 2011 to 2012. Mobile-cellular telephone penetration in particular rose by more than 14 per cent, to 170 per cent in 2012.
A household survey conducted by the country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA, 2012) confirms that virtually all residents use a mobile phone and that 85 per cent of the population uses the Internet regularly and for the most part through a high-speed connection (Box 2.7).
In the use sub-index, UAE registered great progress in the number of wireless-broadband subscriptions. By end 2012, penetration had reached 51 per cent, as against 22 per cent the previous year. Furthermore, services are relatively cheap: the UAE ranks among the most affordable countries for prepaid mobile-broadband services, which cost less than 1 per cent of GNI p.c.
Commenting on the MIS 2013, H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of TRA said: “the significant achievements of the UAE in the report proves that the TRA is well on the way to securing its vision of providing an optimal enabling environment in which the UAE’s ICT sector will emerge as a leader in the global market place.”
The MIS 2013 shows that the UAE is well above the global average in terms of mobile-cellular subscriptions, the proportion of individuals using the internet, and the proportion of households with internet access. Page 34 of the MIS 2013, provides the following chart:
“With 85 per cent of individuals in the UAE using the internet, the UAE is significantly above the world average of 36 per cent. This is a testament to the penetration and quality of services provided by UAE’s licensees.” added Al Ghanim.
“A knowledge-based online community is one of the key pillars of the Leadership’s Vision 2021 which calls for an outstanding ICT infrastructure that offers an edge to businesses as they transact and interact with the world. The last IDI confirms that the TRA is successfully working towards securing the Leadership’s vision for the future.”