LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – AFRICA, KIGALI: Four billion people, mostly in developing markets, still do not have access to the internet despite continued mobile penetration growth during 2017.
GSMA Intelligence’s (GSMAi) latest Mobile Connectivity Index report found by the end of 2017, 3.3 billion people were connected to mobile internet services – up 300 million year-on-year – bringing reach to 44 per cent of the world’s population.
Around 1 billion people globally were not covered by mobile internet by the end of the year and, of those who were, 3 billion people did not access it, the research group found.
Factors impacting a lack of uptake included low affordability and quality of mobile broadband services, both of which were found to be affected by high spectrum pricing, a factor identified by the GSMA in a separate report released yesterday.
Pau Castells, director of economic analysis at GSMAi, said: “Developing countries have the opportunity to catch up with the developed on mobile adoption, however, the investment case in some of these markets is being put at risk.”
“Operators cannot keep paying significantly more for spectrum when consumer incomes and expected profits are much lower in these markets. This is making network investment challenging at a time when policies should encourage the development of the mobile sector to maximise the benefits it can bring to everyone.”