World Communications - 2021


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Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 917,318,375

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2017 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 7,876,696,447

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 103.4 (2017 est.)

Internet users

total: 3.96 billion

percent of population: 51% (2019)

top ten countries by Internet usage (in millions): 730.7 China; 374.3 India; 246.8 United States; 122.8 Brazil; 116.6 Japan; 108.8 Russia; 73.3 Mexico; 72.3 Germany; 65.5 Indonesia; 61 United Kingdom (2017)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,132,215,546

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14.8 (2017)

Communications - note

note 1: data centers consist of a dedicated space within a building or a group of buildings used to house computing resources and other components, such as telecommunications and storage systems; the ongoing worldwide boom in data generation is responsible for the mushrooming of data centers; the three largest data center facilities by area as of the first half of 2021 are:
no. 1. - the China Telecom data center located in the Inner Mongolia Information Park, Hohhot, China, reportedly covers 1 million sq m (10.7 million sq ft); the largest Internet data center in the world, it has over 50% market share in the Chinese data center market, with an extensive network of over 400 data centers located in prime regions in mainland China and overseas markets

no. 2. - the China Mobile data center located in the Inner Mongolia Information Park, Hohhot, China, covers 720,000 sq m (7.7 million sq ft); it is one of the world's biggest cloud computing data centers

no. 3. - The Citadel data center owned by US-based Switch, in Tahoe Reno, Nevada, covers 670,000 sq m (7.2 million sq ft); called the world’s largest technology ecosystem, the facility runs on 100% renewable (solar and wind) energy

note 2: of the global population, it is estimated that 51% (3.96 billion people) were using the Internet by the end of 2019

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) is tied to economic growth; business, trade, and foreign direct investment are all based on effective sources of ICT, and development of ICT flourishes with a vigorous economy, open trade, and sound regulation; some 2020 estimates point to a digital economy worth $11.5 trillion globally, equivalent to 15.5% of global GDP (with ICT growing 2.5 times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years);  2020 reports indicate about 7.7 billion global mobile broadband subscriptions, rising from 3.3 billion in five years, and over 1.1 billion fixed broadband subscribers, up from 830 million in 2015

international: economically, telecommunications has been and continues to be one of the world’s fastest growing markets; countries and firms are transitioning from analog to digital broadcasting, increasing automation capabilities and applications, adopting more high-definition technologies, and converting to digital channels

broadcasting typically refers to transmission of information to all devices in a network without any acknowledgment by the receivers; data processing parts and accessories includes many supporting elements to broadcasting equipment, such as monitors, keyboards, printers, etc.

in terms of market size, broadcasting equipment constituted $413 billion in global trade, making it the fifth most traded commodity in 2019; similarly, data processing equipment equaled $230 billion, the eighth most traded commodity globally; the chief exporters and importers of telecommunications commodities remain largely the same: 1) China leads in both broadcasting and data processing equipment exports, $208 billion and $81.5 billion respectively and 2) the United States, conversely, receives the most of both commodities, importing $81.1 billion in broadcasting equipment and $38.3 billion in data processing equipment in 2019

NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of World 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.