The UN agency has released a tranche of new data for the Facts and Figures 2023 update.
The ITU’s Facts and Figures tracks global connectivity with estimates on various indicators. This year, it also now includes new indicators on global 5G network coverage and Internet traffic data.
The figures indicate that global 5G coverage has grown to 38%, but distribution is uneven. In high-income countries, 89% of people are covered by 5G networks, but in low-income countries, the service is nearly absent.
The ITU says that for many low-income countries, 3G remains the only technology available to connect to the internet, but it says that this is insufficient for accessing the full benefits of digital technologies.
In low-income countries, not only are fewer people online, but those that are use less data. Globally, the monthly average for data use was 257 GB per fixed-broadband subscription, compared to 11 GB per mobile-broadband subscription in 2022. However, in low-income countries, this drops down to an average of 161 GB of fixed-broadband traffic and just 1 GB of mobile broadband.
“The Facts and Figures series is an important record of where we are – and a good motivator to drive us to where we want to be. This edition shows that there are reasons to be optimistic, but the rate of growth is uneven and the new indicators on 5G network coverage and Internet traffic highlight ongoing disparities between high and low-income countries, deepening the digital divide,” said Dr Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.
Click here to view all the new figures published by the ITU.