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Examining ICT Indices: How Do We Fare in ICT?

by Jose Ramon G. Albert, Ph.D  1                                
(Posted: 07 February 2014)

 



Last 4 to 6 December 2013, I attended the 11th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS) sponsored by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Mexico City, Mexico, largely to express the Philippines’ formal bid to host the next WTIS in Manila this year 2014.   The occasion was also an opportunity to network with bigwigs in the Information and communications technology (ICT) sector, such as the world’s richest man Carlos Sim Helú.  After the conference, After the conference, I thought it may be appropriate to look more into Telecommunication/ICT Indicators. Measurements are always meant for comparisons, so what do ICT statistics say?

In 2011, the Philippines was considered as the social networking capital of the world2 when it posted a 93.9% Facebook online penetration rate, which was then the highest in the world, and a 16.1% Twitter online penetration which was 8th in the world. Recent statistics show that as of February  20133,  there were 30.2 million Filipinos on Facebook and as of July 20124, there were around 9.5 million Twitter users. Further, the Philippines was also dubbed as the text capital of the world even though lately, the number of text messages sent has declined5.

Advancements in ICT have enabled the country and its citizens to interconnect, collaborate and communicate easily – even wirelessly! Various day-to-day activities have also been made light with the aid of ICT. Even in statisticians, ICT has changed our operations with more data being collected, more data being stored, more data being accessed, more data being analyzed and re-analyzed. Gone are the days when we still used “paper spreadsheets” spanning several meters to tally numbers, especially for estimating the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other statistics in the National Income Accounts. With ICT tools, it is only merely a matter of seconds to invert a 256 x 256 Input Output Table!

In October 2013, the International Telecommunication Union released a report called “ Measuring the Information Society Report 2013” (MIS Report 2013) which contains most importantly, the ICT Development Index (IDI) for the years 2011 and 2012. for 157 countries. The IDI is a composite index which combines 11 indicators into one measure that serves to monitor and compare developments in ICT across countries6.  The table below shows the various indicators included in the computation of the IDI.

In general, the IDI presents the level of ICT developments in countries over time. It is a standard tool that governments, researchers and the general public can use to measure the digital divide and compare ICT performance within and across countries.  Following are some of the major findings in the MIS Report 2013. (Table 1)

South Korea tops list of countries in terms of ICT Development

Out of 157 countries covered in the MIS Report 2013, South Korea emerged as the top-ranked country  in the list with an IDI of 8.57. It is  followed by Sweden and Iceland with IDIs of 8.45 and 8.36, respectively. At the bottom of the list is Niger with an IDI of 0.99. (Table 2)

Digital divide7 still exists among developed and developing countries

The 2012 IDI showed that the average developed-country group IDI value was twice as high as that of the developing-country group average.  While the developed-country average IDI value is growing at a rate of 3.5 percent,  that of the developing-country was growing faster at 5.8 percent. This indicates that developed countries are starting to reach saturation levels (e.g., mobile-cellular subscriptions) while developing countries with lower ICT penetration levels continue to grow.

The digital divide exists mainly between the developed and developing countries in terms of Internet users and fixed/wired broadband and wireless broadband subscriptions.

The Philippines ranked 98th among the 157 countries in IDI

In 2012, the Philippines global rank in IDI was 98. This is the same rank it achieved in 2011. Despite the increase in its IDI from 3.14 in 2011 to 3.34 in 2012, the Philippines did not improve its ranking. This can be attributed to some countries achieving higher IDI scores which consequently outranked us from 2011 to 2012. With its 98th rank, the Philippines is placed at the bottom half of the list along with most African and South Asian countries (Table 2).

Are we satisfied with our ranking? I suppose ICT champions in the government and the private sector need to work hand-in-hand to improve our rank in the years to come. Since the IDI is a composite index of 11 indicators, it would be interesting to see our performance by indicator – how we fared over the years and how we fared with other countries, especially vis-à-vis our ASEAN neighbors. Many friends from developed countries, whenever they visit here, point to the slow internet and wifi connections. These observations are confirmed by these statistics.  However, we should not be afraid of what these statistics are telling us. They merely point to areas on where we can improve.

In 2012, the Philippines ranked 7th among the 10 ASEAN member  states

Based on statistics contained in the MIS Report 2013, the Philippines with an IDI score of 3.34 ranked 7th within the ASEAN region, only besting Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar with IDI scores of 2.30, 2.10 and 1.74, respectively.  With this rank, the Philippines is the lowest among the largest economies in the ASEAN.  It might be a concern that we have been outranked  by Viet Nam since 2010 and in 2011, Indonesia outranked us as well (Table 3).

Telephone density in the Philippines is picking up

Data shows that telephone density (number of fixed telephone subscriptions per 100 population) in the Philippines has been continuously increasing since its lowest level of 3.57 in 2010 to 3.74 in 2011 and to 4.07 in 2012. It was in 2009 that telephone density was at its highest at 4.46 subscriptions per 100 population for the past 13 years (Table 4).

Among the 10 ASEAN member-states (AMS) , the Philippines ranked 7th in 2012 with Singapore at number 1 position. Sad to note that the Philippines has the lowest rank among the larger economies of ASEAN, as  it is only higher than Cambodia (8th), Lao PDR (9th) and Myanmar (10th). Even Viet Nam (5th)and Thailand (6th) have higher densities at 11.22 and 9.51 fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 population than us.

Mobile cellular telephone density reached more than 100 for the first time in 2012

For the first time, in 2012, the number of cellular mobile telephone subscriptions has surpassed the total number of persons in the Philippines.  In 2012, there were around 107 mobile cellular telephone subscriptions for every 100 population.  Note that since 2000, the number of mobile cellular telephone subscriptions has increased more than 15 times to 103 million in 2012. (Table 5). We are getting these figures partly because there are people like myself with more than one subscription: I have subscriptions for Smart, Sun and Globe. In addition, I suspect there may be overcounting of subscriptions  with each telecom trying to have the most counts, and not paying attention to whether a subscription is truly active.  Why do we count subscriptions rather than subscribers?  To count subscribers, we would have to remove double counts, but telcos do not have information about identities of pre-paid subscribers. Only post-paid subscribers have to register with the telcos, and of course each telco will probably not be sharing their database of post-paid customers with the other telcos!  One wonders whether it is high time to have a full registration of cellular subscribers, including pre-paid ones, and for that matter a national ID system that is fully implemented for everyone. 
 
In the ASEAN region, Singapore tops the list of having the highest mobile-cellular telephone density at 152.13 in 2012, with Myanmar at the bottom with only 10.30. The Philippines ranked 8th  in the ASEAN region,  only higher than Lao PDR (9th)and Myanmar (10th). In 2000, the Philippines ranked 4th but over the years it has been overtaken by Viet Nam and Indonesia which in 2012 ranked 2nd and 6th, respectively.

Around 4 per 10 individuals in the Philippines use the Internet in 2012

The ITU estimated that around 36.2 percent of the Philippine population use the Internet in 2012. This is more than 7.2 percentage points compared to 2011 and  34.2 percentage points higher than 12 years ago (Table 6).

Despite the remarkable increase in Internet penetration rate from 2000 to 2012 in the Philippines, its rank vis-à-vis its ASEAN neighbors, however, has not improved at all. The Philippines ranked 5th in 2012 (the same rank in 2000) among the 10 AMS. Singapore tops the list with 74.2 percent followed by Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam with 65.8 percent and 60.3 percent, respectively. At the bottom of the list is Myanmar with only 1.1 percent of its population using the Internet.

Fixed-broadband Internet subscriptions reached an all-time high density  of 2.22 per 100 population in 2012

Available data from 2001 to 2012 show that fixed-broadband subscriptions in the Philippines has dramatically increased by more than 200 times – from an estimated 10,000 subscriptions in 2001 to 2.1 million in 2012. During the past five years alone, subscriptions more than doubled from 1,045,716 in 2008 to 2,146,600 2012. Correspondingly, fixed-broadband subscription per 100 population has also shown an increasing trend – from 0.01 in 2001 to 2.22 subscriptions per population in 2012 (Table 7).

Compared with other AMS, the Philippines ranked 6th in 2012 in terms of fixed-broadband subscription per 100 population. At the top of the list is Singapore with 25.44 subscription density followed by Brunei Darussalam at 4.81. The lowest is that of Myanmar at 0.01 subscription density. Although we ranked higher than Indonesia (7th) we ranked lower than Viet Nam (4th).

In 2010, an estimated 13.1 percent of households in the Philippines has a computer

Available data from ITU show that in 2010, 13 in every 100 households in the Philippines has a computer.  Although this is higher than Lao PDR (7 out of 100) and Cambodia (4 out of 100), this is significantly lower than in Brunei Darussalam where 80 in every 100 households has a computer (Table 8).

Estimates for 2012 show that 88 in every 100 households in Singapore has a computer. Meanwhile, in every 100 households, 67 in Malaysia, 27 in Thailand and 15 in Indonesia has a computer.

Only 1 in every 100 households in the Philippines has Internet access in 2010

ITU estimates for 2010 show that only 10.1 percent among the households in the Philippines has Internet access. This is much lower compared to 12.5 in Viet Nam and 65.0 percent in Brunei Darussalam. Meanwhile, available data for 2012 show that Singapore has 84.8 percent Internet penetration rate among its households  and Malaysia has 64.7 percent (Table 8).

In a nutshell, statistics show a rosy  picture of the status of ICT usage and access in the Philippines. However, as some major ICT indicators are not available, the picture may not be convincing  at all. Indicators such as Internet bandwidth, wireless broadband subscription, Internet access tariffs, contribution of ICT to the economy are still wanting in the Philippine Statistical System (PSS).

With the ever-evolving and dynamic nature of ICT, we can do things which are not possible now and in the past and we can do things more efficiently in the future. Even now, with ” big data”, i.e. fast and massive data sourced from electronic devices and sensors data, we are able to track the spread of viruses, the movements of populations across time,  including traffic.  Big data applications are also beginning to use technology for forecasting  yields based on GIS maps,  optimize our businesses, know our citizens.  Aside from big data, terms such as the data revolution, and open data, are becoming ubiquitous topics, ICT development has become more imperative.  For sure, government will have to work on having a digitally-empowered citizenry,  and together with the private sector, the power of information can be harnessed. 

This article is my last blog, as I have been given my marching orders to return to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.  Like any obedient public servant, I go where I am needed. I thank everyone for the interest in these statistics blogs. A  Very Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

_______________________

Reactions and views are welcome thru email to the author at jrg.albert@nscb.gov.ph

 

1 Secretary General of the Philippine Statistics Authority-National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). The NSCB, a statistical agency functionally attached to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), is the highest policy making and coordinating body on statistical matters in the Philippines. Immediately prior to his appointment at NSCB, Dr. Albert was a Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, a policy think tank attached to NEDA. Dr. Albert finished summa cum laude  with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from the De La Salle University in 1988. He completed a Master of Science in Statistics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Statistics from the same university in 1993. He is the President of the Philippine Statistical Association Inc. for 2014-2015, a Fellow of the Social Weather Stations, and an Elected Regular Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines. 

This article was co-written by Dir. Candido J. Astrologo, Jr.. The authors thank Ms. Eunice N. Tambasen and Ms. Simonette A. Nisperos, Information Officer II and Computer Programmer III of the NSCB, respectively, for the assistance in the preparation of the article. The views expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the PSA-NSCB and its Technical Staff.

2 http://247wallst.com/technology-3/2011/05/09/the-ten-nations-where-facebook-rules-the-internet/3/

3 http://www.biggone.com/2013/03/10/top-10-countries-with-most-facebook-users-in-2013/

4 http://semiocast.com/publications/2012_07_30_Twitter_reaches_half_a_billion _accounts_140m_in _the_US

5 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/282467/scitech/technology/sms-use-is-declining-even-in-the-texting-capital-of-the-world

6 The IDI was developed by ITU in 2008 and first presented in the 2009 edition of Measuring the Information Society (ITU, 2009a). It was established in response to ITU Member States’ request to develop an ICT index and publish it regularly. http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/publications/mis2013.aspx

7 The digital divide can be understood as the difference in ICT access and use between countries, between regions, or between other groupings that share common characteristics.

 

Table 1. Indicators Used in the Computation of the IDI

Access sub-index

Use sub-index

Skills sub-index - includes

Indicators on ICT infrastructure and access:

1. fixed-telephone subscriptions

2. mobile cellular telephone subscriptions

3. international Internet bandwidth per Internet user

4. Percentage of households with a computer

5. percentage of households with Internet access

Indicators on ICT intensity and usage:

1. individuals using the Internet

2. fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions

3. wireless-broadband subscriptions

Indicators on ICT capability or skills:

1. adult literacy

2. gross secondary enrolment

3. gross tertiary enrolment

 

 

Table 2. ICT Development Index: 2011 and 2012

   

Table 3. Purchasing Power of Peso, Philippines by Region, 2007-2012

ASEAN Member State

2010

2011

2012

Rank

Index

Rank

Index

Rank

Index
Brunei Darussalam 50 4.89 56 4.93 58 5.06
Cambodia 119 1.88 121 2.05 120 2.30
Indonesia 97 3.01 97 3.14 97 3.43
Lao PDR 120 1.84 122 1.99 123 2.10
Malaysia 57 4.63 57 4.81 59 5.04
Myanmar 129 1.65 132 1.70 134 1.74
Philippines 94 3.04 98 3.14 98 3.34
Singapore 10 7.47 14 7.55 15 7.65
Thailand 89 3.29 94 3.42 95 3.54
Viet Nam 86 3.41 86 3.65 88 3.80
No. of Countries 155 157 157

Notes:                                                                                                                                         

  1. 2010 figures are from the report Measurement of the Information Society 2012
  2. 2011 and 2012 figures are from the report Measurement of the Information Society 2012

Source: International Telecommunication Union  

Table 4. Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 population:
ASEAN, 2000- 2012

 ASEAN Member State 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Brunei Darussalam 24.26 26.08 23.46 23.17 23.03 22.81 21.40 20.86 20.82 20.42 19.95 19.64 17.21
Cambodia 0.25 0.27 0.28 0.24 0.24 0.25 0.19 0.27 0.31 0.38 2.50 3.63 3.93
Indonesia 3.19 3.41 3.60 3.69 4.69 6.02 6.51 8.46 12.97 14.66 17.01 15.84 15.39
Lao P.D.R. 0.76 0.96 1.12 1.24 1.32 1.57 1.56 1.58 2.08 1.60 1.61 1.65 1.81
Malaysia 19.76 19.68 19.13 18.37 17.53 16.89 16.49 16.22 16.53 16.28 16.30 15.73 15.69
Myanmar 0.56 0.60 0.69 0.73 0.85 1.00 1.13 0.91 0.99 0.86 0.95 1.00 1.05
Philippines 3.94 4.18 4.09 4.04 4.08 3.92 4.16 4.43 4.51 4.46 3.57 3.74 4.07
Singapore 49.67 48.41 46.59 44.41 42.44 41.03 40.17 39.34 38.69 38.90 39.30 38.87 37.48
Thailand 8.97 9.59 10.28 10.28 10.47 10.73 10.73 10.63 11.17 10.87 10.29 9.94 9.51
Viet Nam 3.14 3.73 4.76 5.28 12.03 …  9.99 12.90 16.90 19.76 16.14 11.32 11.22

… - not available
Source: International Telecommunication Union

 

Table 5. Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions per 100 population: ASEAN, 2000- 2012

ASEAN Member State 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Brunei Darussalam 28.63 42.17 44.35 50.15 56.11 63.32 80.44 95.99 102.79 104.69 108.62 109.02 113.95
Cambodia 1.07 1.79 2.99 3.85 6.55 7.95 12.70 18.79 30.39 44.31 56.74 94.19 128.53
Indonesia 1.76 3.08 5.44 8.48 13.71 20.90 28.02 40.43 60.01 68.92 87.79 102.46 114.22
Lao P.D.R. 0.24 0.54 0.99 2.00 3.58 11.36 17.12 24.59 32.94 51.61 62.59 84.05 64.70
Malaysia 21.87 30.87 37.08 44.69 57.60 75.63 73.93 87.07 101.50 108.47 119.74 127.48 141.33
Myanmar 0.03 0.05 0.10 0.13 0.19 0.26 0.42 0.49 0.72 0.97 1.14 2.38 10.30
Philippines 8.31 15.33 19.00 27.25 39.10 40.52 49.07 64.52 75.37 82.26 88.98 99.09 106.51
Singapore 70.12 74.36 80.10 84.07 91.21 97.53 103.78 125.19 132.30 138.69 145.40 150.12 152.13
Thailand 4.90 11.97 27.35 33.52 41.43 46.46 60.90 80.17 93.43 99.51 108.02 116.33 127.29
Viet Nam 0.97 1.53 2.30 3.29 5.89 11.29 22.03 52.02 85.70 111.37 125.29 141.60 147.66

Source: International Telecommunication Union

 

Table 6. Percentage of Individuals using the Internet:
ASEAN, 2000- 2012

ASEAN Member State 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Brunei Darussalam 9.00 12.92 15.33 19.60 29.72 36.47 42.19 44.68 46.00 49.00 53.00 56.00 60.27
Cambodia 0.05 0.08 0.23 0.26 0.30 0.32 0.47 0.49 0.51 0.53 1.26 3.10 4.94
Indonesia 0.93 2.02 2.13 2.39 2.60 3.60 4.76 5.79 7.92 6.92 10.92 12.28 15.36
Lao P.D.R. 0.11 0.18 0.27 0.33 0.36 0.85 1.17 1.64 3.55 6.00 7.00 9.00 10.75
Malaysia 21.38 26.70 32.34 34.97 42.25 48.63 51.64 55.70 55.80 55.90 56.30 61.00 65.80
Myanmar …  0.00 0.00 0.02 0.02 0.07 0.18 0.22 0.22 0.22 0.25 0.98 1.07
Philippines 1.98 2.52 4.33 4.86 5.24 5.40 5.74 5.97 6.22 9.00 25.00 29.00 36.24
Singapore 36.00 41.67 47.00 53.84 62.00 61.00 59.00 69.90 69.00 69.00 71.00 71.00 74.18
Thailand 3.69 5.56 7.53 9.30 10.68 15.03 17.16 20.03 18.20 20.10 22.40 23.70 26.50
Viet Nam 0.25 1.27 1.85 3.78 7.64 12.74 17.25 20.76 23.92 26.55 30.65 35.07 39.49

… - not available
Source: International Telecommunication Union

 

Table 7. Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: ASEAN, 2000- 2012

 ASEAN Member State 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Brunei Darussalam …  0.56 0.80 1.09 1.74 2.21 2.39 3.05 4.35 5.08 5.42 5.70 4.81
Cambodia …  0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.06 0.12 0.21 0.25 0.15 0.20
Indonesia 0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.09 0.34 0.42 0.78 0.95 1.12 1.21
Lao P.D.R. …  0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.05 0.07 0.09 0.10 0.11
Malaysia 0.00 0.02 0.08 0.44 1.00 1.87 2.85 3.82 4.83 5.55 6.49 7.43 8.41
Myanmar 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.04 0.04 0.02 0.01
Philippines 0.00 0.01 0.03 0.07 0.11 0.14 0.30 0.56 1.16 1.87 1.84 1.88 2.22
Singapore 1.76 3.75 6.53 9.80 12.46 14.60 17.08 18.94 21.12 23.58 24.98 25.61 25.44
Thailand 0.00 0.00 …  0.02 0.25 0.85 1.36 1.96 3.13 3.96 4.90 5.89 8.15
Viet Nam …  0.00 0.00 0.01 0.06 0.25 0.60 1.50 2.35 3.64 4.12 4.27 4.90

… - not available
Source: International Telecommunication Union

 

Table 8. Percentage of Households with Computer and Percentage
of Households with Internet Access: ASEAN, Various years

ASEAN Member State Percentage of households with
Computer Year of latest data Internet access Year of latest data
Brunei Darussalam 79.6 2010 65.0 2010
Cambodia 4.3 2010 0.2 2008
Indonesia 15.1 2012 6.5 2012
Lao P.D.R. 6.9 2010 3.4 2010
Malaysia 66.9 2012 64.7 2012
Myanmar ...   ...  
Philippines 13.1 2010 10.1 2010
Singapore 87.7 2012 84.8 2011
Thailand 26.9 2012 18.4 2012
Viet Nam 16.0 2011 12.5 2010
 … - not available
Source: International Telecommunication Union

 

 

 

 


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