UAE rises to record ranking for ICT development

Published November 24th, 2013 - 07:10 GMT
Almost all resident in the UAE use a mobile phone and 85 percent of the population uses high-speed internet on a regular basis (Shutterstock)
Almost all resident in the UAE use a mobile phone and 85 percent of the population uses high-speed internet on a regular basis (Shutterstock)

The United Arab Emirates has recorded the highest increase in its ranking in a major ICT development index, shooting up 12 places to 33rd globally.

Value increases in the access and use sub-indices are both considerably above the global average, according to the latest ICT Development Index (IDI) which captures the level of ICT developments in 157 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the last year.

The IDI is featured in the fifth edition of the Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

All indicators included in the access sub-index showed improvement from 2011 to 2012, said the report.

Mobile-cellular telephone penetration in particular rose by more than 14 per cent, to 170 per cent in 2012.

A household survey conducted by UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA, 2012) noted 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.

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. (gross national income per capita).

Commenting on the MIS 2013, 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.

“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.”

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