ICT adoption and prospects in the Arab region
Section I. Regional ICT overview
This section presents an overview of the regulatory status, information and communication technology (ICT) deployment and adoption of ICT services in the Arab States region.1 The Arab region is a rapidly developing region in terms of ICTs and characterized particularly by strong growth in the area of mobile telephony over the last five years. The move towards commercially available 3G networks in almost all countries of the region has driven the number of active mobile-broadband subscriptions and helped bring more people online. ITU estimates that by the end of 2011, around 30 per cent of the population in the Arab States were using the Internet. Compared to mobile-cellular services (and in comparison to other regions) both fixed-telephone and fixed (wired)-broadband penetration rates in the region remain relatively low. The penetration for fixed-telephone subscriptions reached ten per cent at its highest and has been declining since 2008. The number of fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions has grown from one million in 2006, to an estimated eight million in 2011, but penetration remains relatively low, at 2.2 per cent (Chart 1).
Chart 1. ICT developments, Arab region, 2006-2011*