Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology issue a joint press release on the eve of the International Day for Telecommunication and Information Society 17/05/2018.
The World celebrates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day this year under the logo “Enabling the Positive Use of Artificial Intelligence for All”, will focus on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In recent years there has been significant progress in AI technology, that was made possible by the tremendous advances in supporting fields, such as Big Data, machine learning, computing power, storage capacity and cloud computing…etc. AI-based technologies are already emerging as a key component of proactive tools and applications being used to help people lead better lives by improving healthcare, education, finance, agriculture, transportation, and a wide range of other services.
Telecommunications in Palestine
The Information and Communication Technology sector witnessed a quantum jump in the beginning of 2018 by launching 3G services and enabling Wataniya Mobile Company to provide services in Gaza Strip. Data from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology indicate that there has been a steady growth in the use of the fixed telephone lines, especially in light of the expansion of fixed telephone infrastructure. The data showed the increasing interest of households in fixed communications technology by increasing the demand for associated services represented by internet service. 472,292 telephone lines1 (Home, Commercial, Governmental) in Palestine at the end of 2017 compared with 360,402 lines at the end of 2010, an increase of 31%. Fixed telephone penetration rate per 100 inhabitants was 10.5 telephone line at the end of 2017 compared to 9.4 telephone line at the end of 2010. Also the data indicated that mobile cellular subscriptions increased in 2017 to reach 3,997,206 subscribers in Palestine compared with 2,603,582 at the end of 2010, an increase of 53.5%. While the mobile penetration rate per 100 inhabitants reached 83.6 mobile at the end of 2017 compared with 64.3 mobile at the end of 2010.
Also, the records of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology indicated that there are 18 Companies for wireless connection to the Internet (WIFI), and 5 companies for connections to the IP telephony (VOIP), and 9 companies for Broad Band Internet connection, and 13 BSA Broad Band access companies, and 32 value-added service providers. As for the number of registered companies for importing communications equipment, it reached 69 companies in 2017.
Broadband ADSL subscribers
The total number of ADSL subscribers in Palestine increased to 357,071 at the end of 2017 compared with 119,488 at the end of 2010, an increase of 198.8%. The average internet speed was 8.58 Mbps at the end of 2017 compared to 0.5 Mbps at the end of 2010.
1.7 million smartphone owned by Palestinian households
The data of the census 2017 showed that the majority of households in Palestine have a mobile phone with a percentage of 96.6% (97.2% in the West Bank and 95.7% in Gaza Strip). The results showed that the percentage of households owning a smartphone was 84.2% in Palestine with 89.8% in the West Bank and 75.5% in Gaza Strip.
Also, the results of the census 2017 showed that 43.1% of households have a computer (Desktop or Laptop or Tablet and iPad) in Palestine (48.9% in the West Bank and 34.0% in Gaza Strip). As for the use of computers among individuals, 61.4% of households have computer users (62.0% in the West Bank, and 60.4% in Gaza Strip).
More than Half of the Palestinian Households have Internet Access at Home
51.7% of households in Palestine have internet access (60.6% in the West Bank and 38.0% in Gaza Strip) in 2017.
The Economics of Informatics and Communications Sector
The data of the census 2017 indicated that the number of establishments that work in the information technology and communications sector accounted for 1008 establishment of the total economic operating establishments (158573) in Palestine., while this sector employed 9200 workers of the total employees (444034) in 2017.
The production of this sector accounted for 6.8% of the total production of the economic sectors in 2016 compared to 7.3% in 2015. The information technology and communications sector added value exceeded half billion dollars, by 4.09% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) at constant prices in 2016 compared to 4.07% in 2015.