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4G, digital innovations grow internet users to 3.2B

Posted: 24 Feb 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:4G  internet population  digital economy 

By the end of 2015, 3.2 billion people worldwide had internet access while the remaining 410 crore (4.1 billion) were unable to get online, based on the second annual "State of Connectivity" report released by Facebook last Sunday.

The report further states that low-cost data and rising global incomes were factors into getting 200 million people online last 2015, while innovation and investment from stakeholders were cited as keys to enable internet access for the rest of the population.

In the report "Mobile Economy" released by GSMA at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the growth in numbers of the global internet population is due to the fourth generation (4G) mobile connections worldwide. This acceleration has enabled "high-speed connectivity and services to citizens in all corners of the world," said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

Mobile industry and socio-economic impact

In today's digital economy, mobile and 4G plays an important role in providing economic opportunities, convenience and its role as fuel for digital innovation. As a result, smartphone adoption and mobile data usage has increased leaps and bounds, as smartphones account for 45 per cent of mobile connections in 2015—a surge from just 8% in 2010. A figure of 260 crore (2.6 billion) smartphone connections is projected to be added over the course of the next five years.

According to GSMA's "Mobile Economy," the global mobile industry has contributed ₹208.05 lakh crore ($3.1 trillion) in economic value to the global economy last year, and is forecast to grow by ₹248.32 lakh crore ($3.7 trillion) in 2020. Apart from economic growth, it has also provided 32 million jobs in 2015 (forecast to rise to 36 million in 2020).

The ubiquity of mobile networks is aiding the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The UN aims to improve access to vital services such as education, healthcare and financial services, to name a few. Advances in mobile technology are proving to be crucial in addressing socio-economic challenges. The report also cites the necessity for regulation to keep pace with the rapid innovation these technological advances entail.

Granryd calls on policymakers worldwide to adapt out-dated market regulations to maximise the benefits of technological progress for consumers, and ultimately, to reflect the new digital ecosystem.

-Toni Urrutia

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