The GSMA found the number of people living without mobile coverage dropped to 400 million by end-2022 from 1.8 billion in 2015, improvements correlating to the impact of the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The GSMA’s Mobile Impact Report on SDG assessed the mobile ecosystem’s role in fulfilling the 17 objectives adopted by the UN member states since 2015, which called for governments and industry players to expand their initiatives to achieve equality and prosperity by 2030.

The study highlighted the mobile sector had achieved 53 per cent of the so-called “average impact score” in contributing to all 17 goals, up from 33 per cent when the objectives were first adopted.

It claims there has a been a strong impact on the “industry, innovation and infrastructure” goals, alongside the quality of education.

The report found nearly two billion people have gained access to mobile connectivity in the period between 2015 to 2022, with the number of the unconnected dropping to 400 million from 1.8 billion.

GSMA pointed to Asia-Pacific as a region which has seen significant scaling of mobile between 2015 to 2022 and a sharp rise in the number of unique subscribers and mobile connections, driven by 4G and 5G rollouts, increase in mobile adoptions and the decline in prices of mobile services.

This, GSMA believes, has ushered in “a wave of new digital services that underpinned an uptake in the region’s SDG contribution”.

It however added developed markets, such as North America and Europe, are more likely to achieve higher levels of SDG impact due to higher numbers of mobile users accessing a diverse range of digital services.

The GSMA warned the mobile sector will only reach 76 per cent of “its full potential” on the 17 goals by 2030, identifying the global cost-of-living crisis, the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and geopolitical conflicts as key setbacks.