June 4, 2021

How the mobile industry is working to close the urban-rural digital divide

Video By

Mr. Mats Granryd

Director General, GSMA

The ideas and opinions expressed in this insight are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of ITU and UNESCO or the Broadband Commission. The mention of specific companies, products or services does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by ITU or UNESCO or Broadband Commission in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

Did you know 17% of the rural population live in areas with no mobile coverage at all, and 19% of the rural population is covered by only a 2G network?

Broadband Commissioner and Director General of GSMA Mats Granryd shares the mobile industry’s perspective on how to close the urban and rural digital divide.

“The world is more connected than ever before as mobile operatives have invested heavily and quickly in mobile broadband networks.  However, mobile internet adoption has not been as quick. In fact, 85% of the 4B people that do not use the mobile internet live in an area that is covered by mobile broadband, and they are disproportionately poorer, female and rural. People in rural areas are much less likely to use the mobile internet than those in urban areas.   

The mobile industry is leading efforts to tackle the barriers with: mobile digital skills programs, affordable handsets and data services, and investments in local content and services. At the GSMA, we support our members and development partners to innovate, to deliver sustainable impact and impact millions of lives.  

The time for all stakeholders to act is now.  

We urgently need policy makers and regulators to help accelerate mobile internet adoption and use. Now the Broadband Commission plays a key role, and the GSMA is so proud to be a contributor to the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, Giga and EQUALS. The GSMA and our 800+ members will continue to work with our partners to ensure everyone and everything is connected to a better future. ”