Research conducted for Telenor found industries making the greatest use of telecoms services contribute up to 75 per cent to the total economic value of countries across the group’s Asian footprint.
In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia the contribution of sectors including financial services; retail and wholesale; education and health; and transport is growing by between 6 per cent and 12 per cent each year, which consultancy Frontier Economics said highlights the impact of Telenor’s investments in those countries.
“As an important enabler of economic activity, telecommunications has substantially improved business efficiency, accelerated innovation and led to the establishment of markets for new products and services,” Clive Kenny, senior economic consultant for telecoms at the research company said.
From 2014 to 2017, Telenor invested $6.2 billion in its five Asian markets, making the company one of the top three non-domestic investors.
In a statement, Telenor highlighted healthcare as a prime example of the impact of its investments, noting delivery costs can be “staggering” in many Asian markets. The operator’s Tonic service in Bangladesh is contributing to an overall improvement in health and, in turn, the economy by improving productivity.
Mobile financial services, meanwhile, have reduced a divide between urban and rural access to services. Wave Money in Myanmar, a joint venture with Yoma Bank, contributed around 2 per cent to the country’s GDP, it stated.
In 2017, the telecoms sector contributed more than $15 billion to the economies of the five nations, or more than 1 per cent of GDP in each country, and employed around 149,000 people in total.
Telenor president and CEO Sigve Brekke said the most productive sectors of society are enabled by mobile technologies, noting this is especially important in Asia where most countries are mobile-first.
“While we have made significant progress over the past decades, the full potential of mobile in enabling the broader economy has yet to be unlocked. To get there, leaders, businesses and citizens must collaborate to create a dynamic ecosystem that is able to keep up with the pace of digitalisation and technological change.”
The Telenor research followed the publication of a GSMA report on China, which estimated the mobile ecosystem contributed CNY5.2 trillion ($750 billion) to country’s economy in 2018, some 5.5 per cent of GDP.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back