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Mobile phone penetration rises


Fifty nine in every 100 people subscribed to a mobile phone in Zimbabwe by the end of last year, but this remained below the average for developing economies of 77, latest figures contained in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) Information Economy report 2011, revealed.

At the end of 2010, global mobile penetration was estimated at 79 subscriptions per 100 up from 69 in 2009.

Unctad noted developed and transition economies now boasted of more than one subscription per inhabitant, while penetration in developing economies last year was about 77 per 100.

The report indicates that in 2005 only five in 100 people made use of the mobile phone. It also noted that Internet users have jumped from 8/100 in 2005 to 11,5/100 in 2010.

Zimbabwe’s usage of fixed broad internet subscriptions rose from 0,08 to 0,26 from 2005 to 2010.

Unctad economic affairs officer Remi Lang last week said the rapid expansion of mobile money systems was creating new opportunities for micro and small enterprises — particularly in low-income countries such as Zimbabwe, to access financial services.

“There appears, however to be a gender gap in mobile phone ownership in the developing world, with 300 million fewer women than man owning a mobile phone,” the report noted.

On Internet use, Unictad said developing economies continued to lag behind significantly compared to developed ones and world average in terms of enterprise use of the Internet.

“While Internet use by enterprises continues to grow in developing countries, large differences still remain in the type of use according to enterprise size and economic sector,” reads the report.

Unctad said Internet offered huge potential benefits for enterprises by enhancing access to information, enabling transparent and efficient commerce between customers and suppliers and improving interaction of with the government.

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