95% of the world is now covered by mobile broadband networks, but 40% of the population served by these networks face other barriers to internet access.
LONDON, in 2022 October 19 /CNW/ – Getting people to use mobile Internet is key, not just limited to network coverage, according to GSMA statistics released today.
The organization’s annual State of Mobile Internet Connection report shows that 95% of the world’s population now lives in areas with mobile broadband coverage, and that 55% of the world’s population is now connected to the mobile internet as a result of this coverage. Ensuring coverage for the remaining 5% (the “coverage gap”) remains a significant challenge.
But the bigger problem is the 3.2 billion people, 40% of the world’s population, who have access to a mobile broadband network, but face barriers that prevent them from getting online (the “usage gap”). They include:
- Lack of literacy and digital skills
- Affordability (especially phone affordability)
- Access to relevant content and services
- Safety and security issues and access
The impact of these challenges has far-reaching implications, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where mobile connectivity is the primary (and in many cases the only) form of Internet access.
94% of the world’s ‘unconnected’ population, who are more likely to live in poverty, live in rural areas and are women, live in LMICs. A lack of internet access prevents them from playing an active role in an increasingly connected world, leaving them unable to cope with the ongoing economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, rising energy prices and costs – the crisis of life. These barriers also prevent them from accessing important information and services such as health care, education, e-commerce, financial services and income generation opportunities.
GSMA CEO Mats Granrydas said: “More than 55% of people worldwide now enjoy the transformative power of mobile internet connectivity.” Mobile operators around the world have extended mobile coverage to 95% of the world’s population and continue to invest daily to expand this footprint. We should celebrate that. achievement, but we should not let it blind us to an even greater challenge.
“It’s time to take real action to reach the 3.2 billion people who don’t yet have access to the mobile internet, even though they live within the footprint of mobile broadband networks. We call on governments and organizations around the world to work together with the mobile industry to ensure digital inclusion by removing barriers to deployment mobile internet, will drive economic recovery, improve social mobility and gender equality and transform the lives of millions of people around the world.
While the report highlighted the importance of increasing focus on closing the “usage gap,” it also revealed several important trends:
- Mobile internet usage continues to grow and drive digital inclusion. Until 2021 At the end of 2017, 4.3 billion people or 55% of the world’s population used the mobile Internet, and in 2017 – 43%.
- Last year, almost 300 million people went online. Most people in 2021 of those who started using the mobile Internet came from LMICs, where 94 percent live. offline population. As a result, half of LMICs are using the mobile internet for the first time.
- Globally, the coverage gap has narrowed significantly over the past 7 years. The percentage of people without access to mobile broadband has fallen from 19% in 2015. up to 5% in 2021 at the end But there is no room for complacency: 400 million people around the world still do not live in a mobile coverage area. broadband, and progress has slowed since 2018.
While significant progress has been made in increasing the use and use of the Internet, the report, funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, shows. that growth has been uneven and the digital divide between and within countries is widening. It concludes that bridging the digital divide requires a major collective effort. This requires informed and targeted action by all stakeholders, including mobile operators, policy makers, international partners and the wider private sector, to address the needs and barriers of the offline to access and use the Internet.
This year’s MWC Africa event will focus on bridging the gaps in mobile internet usage Kigali, Rwanda, which starts next week. For more information on MWC Africa, including how to participate, see: https://www.mwc-africa.com/.
GSMA 2022 You can find the mobile internet connection status report at https://www.gsma.com/r/somic/.
The GSMA is a global organization that unites the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovations that underpin positive business and societal change. Our vision is to harness the full power of connectivity for people, industry and society to thrive. Representing mobile operators and organizations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA provides its members with three main pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions and Outreach. These activities include advancing policy, addressing today’s biggest societal challenges, supporting the technologies and interactions that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at MWC and M360.
Learn more at gsma.com.
About the GSMA Connected Society
The Connected Society program partners with the mobile industry, technology companies, the developer community and governments to increase access to and use of the mobile Internet, with a focus on underserved populations in emerging markets.
This report is the result of a GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation project funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The views expressed are not necessarily those of either organization.
For more information, visit https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/connected-society/.
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More information: GSMA Press Office, [email protected]; Michael Witts, [email protected]+44 (0)7773 667620