Senior ICT Analyst
ICT Data and Statistics Division (IDS)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Postal Address:Place des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 730 5028
Fax: +41 22 730 64 49
Ivan Vallejo Vall
Telephone: +41 22 730 6288
This indicator is defined as the number of fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 subscriptions.
Fixed-telephone subscriptions refers to the sum of active number of analogue fixed-telephone lines, voice-over-IP (VoIP) subscriptions, fixed wireless local loop (WLL) subscriptions, integrated services digital network (ISDN) voice-channel equivalents and fixed public payphones.
This indicator is calculated as the number of fixed-telephone subscriptions in a country divided by the population and multiplied by 100.
Data on fixed-telephone subscriptions are considered to be very reliable, timely, and complete. Very few cases of incomplete country data exist, and those that do are usually for countries following periods of war or turmoil.
Technological change has blurred the traditional definition of a fixed-telephone subscriptions which used to refer to the connection - typically a copper wire - from a subscriber to the telephone company’s switching exchange. Voice services are increasingly provided over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a relatively new and often more affordable communication channel that is distinct from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Some countries have started to collect data on VoIP and while others are encouraged to measure access to voice telephony by type of technology.
Discrepancies between global and national figures may arise when countries use a different definition than the one used by ITU. For example, some countries do not include the number of ISDN voice-channel equivalents and/or fixed-wireless local loop subscriptions when calculating the number of fixed-telephone subscriptions. Discrepancies may also arise in cases where the end of a fiscal year differs from that used by ITU, which is the end of December for most countries. A number of countries have fiscal years that end in March, June, or September.
Data on fixed-telephone subscriptions are collected through annual questionnaires that ITU sends to government telecommunication agencies, usually the regulatory authority, or the Ministry in charge of telecommunication/ICT. When countries do not reply to the questionnaire, ITU carries out research and collects missing values from government web sites, as well as from Annual Reports by operators. Data are complemented by market research reports.
The data, which are mainly based on administrative records, are verified to ensure consistency with data from previous years. Data are usually not adjusted, but discrepancies in the definition, reference year or breaks in comparability in between years are noted. For this reason, data are not always strictly comparable.
Missing values for the number of fixed-telephone subscriptions are estimated based on the Compound Annual Growth Rate of the last three years and adjusted for regional trends.
Country coverage is 100 percent.
Depending on the country, there is usually a time lag of between 4-6 months, between the reference month (December of each year) and the production time.
Data are produced annually.
Regional and global aggregates of the number of fixed-telephone subscriptions are calculated as unweighted sums of the country values. Regional and global penetration rates (per 100 population) are averages of the country values weighted by the population of the countries and regions.
Year-end estimates are usually released in June of the following year through the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database. Data are also available at no cost through the ITU’s ICT Eye, see: