GSMA launches new tool to connect offline citizens to the mobile internet worldwide

The GSMA has launched a new online tool that measures the ability of more than 130 countries worldwide to connect offline citizens to the mobile internet.

The GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index measures each country on the four key enablers for driving mobile internet adoption: infrastructure; affordability; consumer readiness; and content. The tool aggregates best-in-class data from multiple sources and is designed to support the efforts of the mobile industry and the wider international community to deliver on the ambition of universal access to the internet.

“Already more than 3 billion people worldwide are accessing the internet via mobile, but this still leaves more than 4 billion people offline and excluded from the powerful opportunities for social and economic development that the mobile internet enables,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA. “Mobile is the primary enabler of connectivity in developing world markets where the high cost of deploying fixed-line networks means that internet penetration is low”.

“Connectivity to the mobile internet is also an important foundation upon which the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals depend for their delivery, providing a platform for reducing poverty and improving healthcare, education, commerce, information sharing, employment and innovation.” he added. “The launch of the GSMA’s Mobile Connectivity Index will provide valuable insights that will inform projects designed to support the ambition of universal access to the internet”

Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA
Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA

According to GSMA Intelligence, there were approximately 3.2 billion people accessing the mobile internet at the end of 2015, representing about 44% of the global population. Among these users, about a third were accessing the internet using 2G networks and two-thirds were using mobile broadband (3G/4G).

This leaves approximately 4.16 billion people, about 56% of the global population, still not on the mobile internet. Among this segment, 2.5 billion people (34% of the global population) live within the footprint of a mobile broadband network but do not access services, while approximately 1.6 billion (22%) live outside of a mobile broadband network footprint.

Measuring Enablers Using the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index

The GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index is an analytical tool that measures the performance of 134 countries, representing more than 95% of the world’s population, against the four key enablers that are essential to driving mobile internet adoption:

  • Infrastructure – the availability and quality of high performance mobile internet network coverage. Without network coverage, people cannot get online, and without high-performing networks it is more difficult to access the full potential of the internet.
  • Affordability – the availability of mobile services and devices at price points that reflect the level of income across a national population. Aside from prices and incomes, affordability is also affected by the level of taxation, as well as inequality – if income distribution is skewed towards a small proportion of the population, the mobile internet will remain unaffordable for many people.
  • Consumer Readiness – citizens with the awareness and skills needed to value and use the internet. Without the necessary skills and supporting cultural environment, individuals may not understand how to use the mobile internet or appreciate how it can benefit them. Some individuals, especially women, might also find themselves prevented from accessing the mobile internet in some countries.
  • Content – the availability of online content and services that are accessible and relevant to the local population. Consumers are less likely to connect to the mobile internet unless there is online content and services that are relevant and would be of benefit to them. This might be as simple as having content in their native language or it might be the availability of certain apps or services such as social media, banking or education.

Scores for each of these four key enablers are available for each country and combined to produce a single composite measure for a given country, reflecting the strength of the foundations to support widespread adoption of the mobile internet. The scores will be updated on an annual basis.

The Mobile Connectivity Index is accessible through a freely available web-based interface that allows users to explore in detail the performance of individual countries, compare countries against each other, and investigate the different dimensions and indicators that feed into each of the enablers.

The tool can be found at www.mobileconnectivityindex.com

A launch report providing further information on the tool can be accessed at:

https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/research/2016/06/mobile-connectivity-index/561/

The Mobile Connectivity Index is produced by the GSMA’s Connected Society programme, which works with the mobile industry and key stakeholders to improve digital inclusion, in collaboration with GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA.

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