By Emeka Aginam
Latest GSMA study just released has revealed that in Africa, limited network coverage remained a key barrier to mobile internet adoption.
Presently, mobile broadband networks, according to the report cover around 50% of the population, meaning that 600 million people in the region do not have access to a mobile broadband service.
To ensure efficient mobile broadband adoption, stable and efficient policies and regulations, GSMA study said are essential for mobile operators to have the best conditions to roll out mobile broadband networks in underserved areas.
Although private investment depends heavily on the regulatory climate, according to the report, further findings from the reports served as the backbone of discussions during UN Week in New recently where Ericsson participated in discussions with global stakeholders, including the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, about the world economy and the beneficial role that ICT can play in development.
Meanwhile, in a report conducted in collaboration with the Imperial College of London, Ericsson Research confirmed that when a country adopts mobile broadband, the result is solid overall economic development.
Entitled ‘How Important Are Mobile Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development?’, the report examined data from 135 countries.
The report revealed that as mobile broadband penetration increases by 10 percent, it causes a 0.6-2.8 percent rise in Gross Domestic Product, GDP. That translates to an equivalent of approximately USD 500–2000 billion, worldwide in 2016.
Previous reports have examined fixed broadband, and researchers have only been able to estimate its effect on economic growth.
This study, on the other hand, has been able to conclude that the introduction of mobile broadband has an immediate positive effect on a country’s economy, and a longer-term knock-on effect as mobile broadband gradually spreads to different economies.
Speaking on the study, Harald Edquist, Master Researcher in Macroeconomics at Ericsson Research and one of the report authors, said that, “Many countries in the developing world have used mobile broadband technology to leapfrog in their economic development in the past 10–15 years.
“I believe that if these countries, and others, continue to invest wisely in mobile broadband, they will have an excellent opportunity to continue to reap the benefits of continuous productivity improvements and new economic opportunities that simply would not be possible without mobile broadband.”
According to Edquist , “We have always challenged traditional ways of thinking. Being true to our company purpose of innovating technology for good and creating new economic opportunities we make life better, whether through connecting people in new ways, building technologies for industries in transformation or creating a more inclusive society. This is set to continue as we enter an era of 5G, IoT and cloud network infrastructure.”
It would be recalled that the Ericsson Mobility Report published in June, 2017 stated that at the end of 2016, around 3.2 billion subscribers out of the world’s total population of 7.4 billion had access to the Internet via mobile broadband technology. It is forecast that an additional 2.6 billion subscribers will have mobile broadband Internet access by 2022.