European countries dominate the global information and communication technology (ICT) equipment market, taking seven of the top ten spots in the ITU’s annual ICT Development Index.
Sweden was ranked top of the heap in the list, which ranks 159 countries according to their installed base of ICT equipment. Luxembourg came in second, followed by Denmark in fourth, the Netherlands fifth, Switzerland seventh, and Norway and the UK in ninth and tenth respectively.
Mobile technology continued to drive growth in installed equipment in 2009, the ITU said. By the end of the year over 70 countries worldwide had mobile penetration of over 100%, and average mobile penetration in the developing world had surpassed 50% for the first time.
In contrast, fixed broadband penetration averaged just 23% in developed countries and remained as low as 3.5% in emerging nations.
Prices of telecom and IT services are also falling. The largest decrease was in fixed broadband, which declined by an average of 42%, compared to 25% for mobile services and 20% for fixed phones.
The ITU says pricing remains a barrier to adoption in emerging markets, where the cost of installing communications equipment can be as high as 17.5% of gross national income in developing countries, compared to 1.5% in developed markets.
Macau and Hong Kong are the countries with the lowest ICT prices, with charges barely above 0.2% as a percentage of mean income. Luxembourg is the cheapest in Europe, followed by Denmark, Norway, and the UK and Iceland.