Dubai: The UAE has made a significant jump in ICT Development Index (IDI) which captures the level of ICT (information and communications technology) developments in 157 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the last year, according to International Telecommunications Union’s Measuring the Information Society (MIS) 2013 report.

The UAE has recorded the highest increase in rank, shooting up 12 places to 33rd in the IDI 2012.

All indicators included in the access sub-index showed improvement from 2011 to 2012. Mobile-cellular telephone penetration in particular rose by more than 14 per cent to 170 per cent in 2012.

A survey conducted by the country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirms 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.

Active mobile subscribers in the UAE stood at 15.2 million as of third quarter.

In the use sub-index, UAE registered great progress in the number of wireless-broadband subscriptions. By the end of 2012, penetration had reached 51 per cent, 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 one per cent of gross national income per capita.

“It is not a surprise when you look at the amount of infrastructure developments happening in the country. This is the direct reflection of the good work done by the government and the telecom operators. The execution from the government has been immaculate,” Bhanu Chaddha, senior telecom analyst at research firm International Data Corporation, told Gulf News.

He said the broadband growth and fibre to the home services taking place in the country, along with the launch of 4G LTE from telecom operators, has fuelled the pace.

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.

“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,” Mohammad Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of TRA, said in a emailed statement.

He said that 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.

According to the report, the Republic of Korea, followed by Sweden, continues to lead the world in terms of ICT developments. The other Nordic countries Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway follow closely.

A regional analysis of the IDI highlights that Europe leads the way in terms of ICT developments, followed by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Americas. The IDI value of the Asia and the Pacific region is close to the global average, while the Arab States regional IDI is slightly below the global average. Africa has the lowest regional IDI of 2.0, which is just half that of the Arab States average and less than one-third of the European regional average.

According to ITU estimates, by the end of 2013 there will be 6.8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions — almost as many as there are people on the planet; and there will be an estimated 2.7 billion people using the Internet worldwide. This means, however, that there are still 4.4 billion people who are not yet online.

A number of countries from the Arab States region with relatively high IDI values continue to make great progress in ICT development, and four out of the regional top six — Bahrain, Lebanon, Oman and the UAE — are among the most dynamic countries in the IDI 2012.