Singapore, HK have Asia's lowest telecom charges: ITU

03 Mar 2009

Singapore has the lowest telecom prices in the world as a proportion of income - with Hong Kong fifth and Taiwan seventh - according to the ITU's latest ICT development index.

No other Asian market made the top 20 in a list of 154.

The ITU report found that most developed countries pay between 0-3% of their gross national income (GNI) on telecom services. By contrast, developing countries typically pay around 25%, and those in the bottom 25 pay up to 72%.

The cost of mobile services is lowest in Hong Kong, followed by Denmark and Singapore. By contrast, fixed services are cheapest in Iran, followed by Hong Kong and the UAE.

South Korea is the second most advanced country in ICT, trailing only Sweden, the ITU said. The remaining top ten spots are filled by Western European countries.

China has made great progress in terms of ICT accessibility and usage, climbing from 90th to 73rd place in a global chart based on these metrics in just five years.

But global digital divide remains as broad as ever, with penetration rates in developing regions such as Africa remaining as low as 5%, the report said. The ITU estimates that 23 out of every 100 inhabitants globally had used the internet by the end of 2008.

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