According to data published by Qatar’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ictQATAR) and reported by Gulf Times, all segments of the population now have access to internet-enabled ICT devices (and in particular mobile phones), although smartphones and tablets are yet to ‘fully penetrate’ the market. In its ‘ICT Landscape 2014: Households and Individuals’ report, which monitors ICT access and usage behaviour in the country, the government is confident that ‘use of basic online services such as e-mail, internet browsing, social networking and peer-to-peer file sharing is prevalent across all segments of society’. The study confirms that the ongoing transition towards full access continues apace, and that mobile phones are now used by ‘nearly 100% of the population’, while smartphone penetration has reached 65% and laptop ownership has topped 93% – up from 83% in 2012. Moreover, a rapid rise in the penetration of tablet devices means that as many as 52% of Qataris are now connected to the internet via such means, compared to just 32% in 2012. The ICT study goes on to say that whilst 83% of users access the world wide web for e-mail and 93% for social networking apps, only 18% use internet banking and 15% e-commerce. Finally, the ministry report notes that with the increase in smartphone and tablet penetration, the demand for mobile broadband has risen and household penetration now stands at 61%, compared to fixed broadband penetration of 94%.
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