April 1, 2023

China's 5G Enterprise Services to See Greater Commercial Scale in 2023, Says GSMA

"China's economy is on the road to recovery, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions from late 2022," the GSMA, an organization that presents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, said in its latest report on the state of China's mobile economy. "Mobile connectivity served as a lifeline throughout the pandemic and will play an even more crucial role in enabling the safe return to social interaction and the restart of many economic activities."

The report, which is available in English and Chinese, notes that "authorities across China have outlined plans to integrate digital technologies, underpinned by advanced mobile connectivity, into every aspect of society to sustain China's competitiveness in an evolving global economy. In 2022, mobile technologies and services generated 5.5% of China's GDP – a contribution that amounted to $1.1 trillion of economic value added."

The UK-based organization adds that "5G will underpin future mobile innovation and services, building on current deployments and adoption." What is more, "The number of 5G base stations in China exceeded 2.3 million at the end of 2022, including approximately 887,000 built during the year. China will be the first market with 1 billion 5G connections, reaching the milestone by 2025. The report also says that "By 2030, 5G connections in China will reach 1.6 billion, accounting for nearly a third of the global total. The technology will add $290 billion to the Chinese economy in 2030, with benefits spread across industries."

Additional key highlights from the report include:
  • 5G enterprise services to see greater commercial scale in 2023: "Mainland China is the largest 5G market in the world, accounting for more than 60% of global 5G connections at the end of 2022. With strong take-up of 5G among consumers, the focus of operators is now increasingly shifting to 5G for enterprises. This offers opportunities to grow revenues beyond connectivity in adjacent areas such as cloud services – a segment where operators in China have recently made significant progress."
  • Dedicated networks on the rise: "Private and dedicated wireless network solutions are back in vogue, as 5G’s enhanced capabilities move deployments beyond low-profile, niche offerings. Manufacturing and mining are two sectors where demand for private and dedicated 5G networks in China looks particularly strong."
  • Innovation underpins China's digital ambitions: "China's digital ambitions are driven by a combination of external and internal factors, notably a slowdown in growth of the real economy. The digital ecosystem, including start-ups, will be at the forefront of efforts to realize China's digital ambitions, with innovation and investments driving the creation of new solutions across the focus areas of China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021–2025) and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035."
  • The mobile industry shifts towards circularity: "Across the telecoms ecosystem, sustainability has extended beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) to become a core strategic priority. Industry players are increasingly adopting a model of production, service offering and consumption that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible."
  • Fintech presents opportunities for mobile industry players: "China has developed a lead in fintech services over the past decade, driven by investments in an expanding portfolio of products and surging public demand for electronic payment options. As fintech innovators increasingly leverage emerging technologies (such as big data, AI and cloud computing) to enable more complex and customized solutions, operators have an opportunity to play a greater role in fintech."

The report also reveals the following statistics:
  • Unique mobile subscribers in China will total 1.33 billion by 2030;
  • There were 1.17 billion mobile internet subscribers in China in 2022, equivalent to 79% adoption;
  • 5G will overtake 4G in 2024 to become the dominant mobile technology in China;
  • China to be among leading 5G markets globally, with 88% adoption by 2030;
  • Smartphone connections will total 1.73 billion in China by 2030, accounting for 93% of connections;
  • Smartphone data traffic in China to more than double over the period to 2028;
  • Licensed cellular IoT connections in China to double to 3.6 billion by 2030;
  • Revenue growth is set to moderate in China over the coming years as 5G adoption reaches maturity;
  • Operators in China will spend $291 billion on their networks during 2023–2030, with most on 5G;
  • The mobile sector added $1.1 trillion of economic value to the Chinese economy in 2022;
  • At the end of the decade, mobile's economic contribution will reach $1.3 trillion;
  • The mobile ecosystem in China supported 6 million jobs in 2022;
  • The fiscal contribution of the mobile ecosystem reached $110 billion in 2022;
  • 5G will add almost $290 billion to the economy in China in 2030; and
  • Manufacturing and services will benefit the most from 5G in 2030.

Infographic: GSMA

Regarding the sixth generation mobile system standard (6G), the GSMA points out that "The mobile industry is already studying how 6G will shape the future of mobile. For regulators, ministries, operators, vendors and researchers, spectrum policy for 6G is becoming increasingly important." Furthermore, "2023 marks the beginning of a long journey as new studies begin when the WRC-27 cycle kicks off."

The report concludes by explaining how "6G is expected to become the primary mobile technology in the 2030s and will offer an enhanced user experience over previous generations. It promises ultra-fast data rates with lower latency, significant energy efficiency improvements and greater reliability."

What opportunities are you seeing in China's mobile sector?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

March 15, 2023

Modest Global Growth and Challenges Ahead in 2023, Says EIU

According to a report about the global economic outlook for 2023 published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the global economy is proving resilient amid severe economic headwinds. However, the UK-based organization, says global gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slow sharply in this year with global inflation remaining stubbornly high. Moreover, the report notes that risks abound for the global economy including fears about global food supplies.

Additional key findings from the report include:
  • The EIU expects global economic growth to slow sharply in 2023, reflecting persistent headwinds stemming from the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine, as well as high inflation and rising interest rates.
  • The EIU's forecast for global growth stands at 2% (up from 1.9% last month). This upward revision reflects an improvement to our US growth outlook, which the EIU now forecasts at 0.7% for 2023 (up from 0.3% previously).
  • The EIU forecasts that the Chinese economy will grow by 5.7% in 2023. The recovery will be consumer-led as the exit from the country's zero-covid policy unleashes pent-up demand for goods and services (including outbound tourism).
  • The euro zone has avoided recession in the winter of 2022/23, owing to lower than expected energy demand due to mild temperatures. However, high inflation continues to weigh on spending—the EIU forecasts GDP growth of just 0.7% in the bloc.
  • The EIU expects a moderate global recovery in 2024, with real GDP growth of 2.5%. However, growth in OECD economies will remain subdued, at a forecast 1.5%. By contrast, the EIU forecasts growth of 4.1% in non-OECD economies.
  • Inflation was a major driver of our forecasts in 2022, and this will continue to be the case in 2023. The EIU expects major central banks to end their tightening cycles by mid-year as inflation slows, but rates will remain high in 2023-24.
  • Despite sky-high interest rates, global inflation will subside only gradually, from an estimated 9.3% in 2022 to 6.7% in 2023 and 4.3% in 2024. Prices will remain high in level terms, even after inflation subsides, fueling the risk of social unrest.
  • Oil prices will remain high in 2023, owing to continued disruption from the war in Ukraine and rising Chinese demand. The EIU expects oil (dated Brent Blend) to trade above US$80/barrel until 2025.

I appreciate how this report provides businesses with foresight of the critical global trends and threats that will shape interest rates, inflation and economic activity in the year ahead. What do you think about the report's findings?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

March 8, 2023

Mobile Connectivity Is a Lifeline for Society

In its latest report that provides insights on the state of the mobile economy worldwide, the GSMA says "Mobile connectivity continues to be a lifeline for society, helping the most vulnerable people in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters to stay connected. It is also enabling advanced connectivity capabilities needed by verticals to innovate amid diverse political, social and macroeconomic headwinds."

The UK-based organization representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide adds that "By the end of 2022, over 5.4 billion people globally subscribed to a mobile service, including 4.4 billion people who also used the mobile internet." The report notes that "The mobile internet usage gap has narrowed markedly in the last five years – from 50% in 2017 to 41% in 2022 on average – but still remains significant and demands urgent attention from all stakeholders."

What is more, "In 2022, mobile technologies and services generated 5% of global GDP, a contribution that amounted to $5.2 trillion of economic value added, and supported 28 million jobs across the wider mobile ecosystem. 5G will underpin future mobile innovation and services, building on ongoing deployments and adoption. 5G adoption will reach 17% this year, rising to 54% (equivalent to 5.3 billion connections) by 2030. The technology will add almost $1 trillion to the global economy in 2030, with benefits spread across all industries."

Key trends shaping the mobile ecosystem include:
  • 5G consumer monetization comes into focus: "Throughout 2023, some 30 new markets will launch 5G services; importantly, many of these will be developing markets across Africa and Asia, making 5G a truly global trend. As 5G adoption continues to scale, the monetization imperative will grow."
  • Private 5G builds momentum: "Private wireless solutions are back in vogue, as 5G's enhanced capabilities allow deployments to move beyond low-profile niche offerings."
  • Mobile industry shifts towards circularity: "Across the telecoms ecosystem, sustainability has extended beyond corporate social responsibility to become a core strategic priority. Industry players are increasingly adopting a model of production, service offering and consumption that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible."
  • The metaverse continues to gain traction: "Momentum for the metaverse continues to grow, alongside advancements in enabling technologies like 5G, AI and wearables. The growing interest from key stakeholders and ecosystem players has led to the emergence of important building blocks for the advancement of the metaverse, notably content and applications, standards and devices, which will be at the forefront of activities in 2023."
  • Fintech presents opportunities for mobile industry players: "Fintech has transformed the way financial services cater to consumers and businesses alike. Although investor sentiments fell sharply in 2022 after record funding the previous year, the fundamentals of growth – including high demand, digital-centric lifestyles and enabling regulations – remain strong."

The report also highlights the following statistics:
  • There were 5.4 billon unique mobile subscribers in 2022, rising to 6.3 billion by 2030;
  • Globally, there were 4.4 billion mobile internet users in 2022, equivalent to 55% penetration;
  • 5G will overtake 4G in 2029 to become the dominant mobile technology by the end of this decade;
  • 5G adoption will be over 85% in the top 5G markets by 2030, led by the six Gulf Cooperation Council states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), developed Asia Pacific, and North America;
  • There will be 9 billion smartphone connections by 2030, equivalent to 92% of total connections;
  • Globally, smartphone data traffic will rise more than threefold in the period to 2028, with the biggest users in North America and Northeast Asia;
  • The total number of licensed cellular IoT connections will double to 5.3 billion by 2030, with Greater China accounting for two-thirds;
  • Revenue growth is expected to remain in positive territory in both developed and developing regions for the period to 2030;
  • At the end of the decade, mobile's economic contribution will surpass $6 trillion; and
  • The fiscal contribution of the mobile ecosystem reached $530 billion in 2022.

Infographic: GSMA

As for the mobile industry's impact on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the GSMA explains that "There are now 11 SDGs where mobile's contribution is over 50, compared to six SDGs in 2020 and none in 2015." Furthermore, "The mobile industry continues to achieve its highest impact on SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, driven by the reach of mobile networks and take-up of mobile internet services."

The report encouragingly adds that "The biggest improvements were recorded in the industry's contribution to SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 2: Zero Hunger and SDG 4: Quality Education. This is due to the increasing proportion of people using mobile for activities such as accessing government services, applying and searching for jobs, and obtaining educational information for themselves or their children." The GSMA also notes that there was "an improvement in the affordability of mobile data and devices. This comes after affordability worsened in 2020 because of the decline in per capita income due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

What aspects of the report did you find of particular interest?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

January 1, 2023

ITU Report: Internet More Affordable and Widespread, but World's Poorest Still Shut Off From Online Opportunities

In its latest annual report measuring digital development, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), says an estimated 5.3 billion people of the earth's 8 billion are using the Internet in 2022, or roughly 66 percent of the world's populations. However, the gender digital divide continues to exist as only 63 percent of women were using the Internet in 2022 compared to 69 percent of men. "This means there are 259 million more men than women using the Internet in 2022," the report notes.

The ITU also finds that youth aged 15-24 years are the driving force of connectivity, with 75 percent of young people worldwide now able to use the Internet.​ The report encouragingly points out: "There are signs that the generational gap is shrinking. In 2020, the difference between the penetration rate among young people (71 percent) and the rest of the population (57 percent) was 14 percentage points."

What is more, "In all regions of the world, people aged between 15 and 24 are more connected than people who are older or younger than that. Universality, defined as more than 95 percent Internet use, has already been reached in this age group in high-income and upper-middle-income economies. The biggest gap in relative terms is observed in low-income economies, where 39 percent of young people use the Internet, compared with only 23 percent for the rest of the population."

With respect to mobile subscriptions, the report says almost three-quarters of the global population aged 10 and over now own a mobile phone. "Internet use is becoming as ubiquitous as mobile phones. Accordingly, the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions is rapidly approaching the level of mobile-cellular subscriptions, which is plateauing."

Despite the ubiquitousness of mobile phone use, "low levels of ICT skills hamper progress to universal and meaningful connectivity," the report importantly notes. "A low level of ICT skills is one of the main barriers to achieving universal and meaningful connectivity."

As for the affordability of ICT services, the report finds that global median price of mobile-broadband services dropped from 1.9 percent to 1.5 percent of average gross national income (GNI) per capita. However, the report explains that "the lack of affordability continues to be a key barrier to Internet access particularly in low-income economies, even though this country group witnessed a nearly two-percentage-point drop in the income-adjusted price of mobile broadband services." Furthermore, "A wide gap remains between high-income economies and the rest of the world. Compared to median prices that are paid in high-income economies, the basket costs nearly 10 times as much in lower-middle-income economies and nearly 30 times as much as in low-income economies, after adjusting for differences in GNI per capita."
I appreciate how ITU's annual Facts and Figures report offers an independent and rigorously researched snapshot of the state of digital connectivity worldwide. As Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who was elected as ITU's Secretary-General subsequently after the report's publication, wrote: The report "serves as a key element in global efforts to 'connect the world' and bring universal meaningful connectivity to everyone, everywhere. Accurate data are essential: to be sure our policies and projects are having a real impact on bridging the digital divide, we need to constantly track core connectivity indicators, and drill down into the data to reveal both unexpected sticking points, and surprising successes." She adds that "ITU data are relied upon, not just by the broader UN system, but by governments, the global technology sector, development financing institutions, and the many grassroots organizations working to promote digital inclusion within their communities."

What recommendations do you have for increasing digital inclusion and promoting online opportunities?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

December 31, 2022

Challenges, Opportunities and Trends to Watch in Seven Sectors in 2023

"The continuing pandemic, the war in Ukraine and high inflation have forced many companies to scale back their forecasts" in 2022, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) notes. Will 2023 will be any better?

The 12th edition of the EIU's annual report forecasts growth and key risks in seven business sectors for 2023, as the war in Ukraine pushes up commodity prices and the cost of living. The report argues that the war has disrupted the recovery from the covid-19 pandemic, and businesses now face increased risks as economies slow or tip into recession, particularly in Europe.

The EIU's report also provides key global forecasts for each of the seven industries:
  • Global sales of new vehicles will be flat in 2023, but sales of electric vehicles will rise by 25% to 10.7m units.
  • In 2023 retail growth volumes will be respectable at 4.9% in US-dollar terms, which will mainly reflect high inflation. In real terms, global sales will slow or fall in most markets.
  • Global energy consumption will rise by just 1.3% as the global economy slows. The energy crisis will force some countries to increase their use of coal or rethink plans to phase out nuclear power.
  • Weakening economic output and rising interest rates will lead to more difficult conditions for banks, insurers and fund managers. Formerly fast-growing fintech companies will be hit by the capital-market crunch.
  • Global healthcare spending will rise by 4.9% year on year in US-dollar terms, which will mask falling investment in real terms, as countries struggle to cope with continued demand.
  • The metaverse will not become a mass-market in 2023, but this will not stop heavy investment into this technology. The drive to standardization and the battle with web3 will be at the forefront.
  • International tourism arrivals will rise by 30% as China slowly loosens its covid-19 restrictions. This will follow 60% growth in 2022, but will still leave total arrivals below 2019 levels.

The EIU also presents the following key forecasts for each industry:

Automotive outlook 2023: Bright spots amid stalling growth
  • The automotive industry will remain vulnerable to global headwinds in 2023 including the energy crisis, slower global demand and continued supply-chain problems.
  • Global new-vehicles sales will remain flat in 2023: new-car sales will rise by 0.9% and new commercial vehicle (CV) sales will fall by 1.3%.
  • Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will be the only bright spot, growing by 25%, but governments will restructure their incentive schemes.
  • Governments' focus will turn to charging networks, which are inadequate to meet the expanding EV fleet.
  • Autonomous vehicles will take a leap forward, as UN regulators lift their speed limit.

Consumer goods and retail outlook 2023: Retailers respond to pricing pressures
  • Inflation will push up global retail sales by a robust 5% in US-dollar terms in 2023, but the lower volume of sales and surging costs will weaken retailers' profits.
  • The rollout of automation technologies will offer opportunities to limit wage growth, which means that retail employment is unlikely to return to 2019 levels.
  • Online sales growth will slow, but the online share of retail will edge up to about 14% of global retail sales.
  • Inflation-wary consumers will prefer to shop at discount stores, helping these retailers to increase their market shares.
  • The economic slowdown in China, caused in part by its zero-covid strategy, will mean fresh challenges for global luxury brands already affected by the loss of Chinese tourists.

Energy outlook 2023: Surviving the energy crisis
  • Global energy consumption will grow by only 1.3% in 2023 amid a slowing economy.
  • Despite decarbonization targets, coal consumption will grow marginally to compensate for gaps in gas supplies.
  • More extreme weather events will force many countries to fall back on fossil fuels, delaying the energy transition.
  • Renewable energy consumption will surge by about 11%, with Asia leading the way, but investment will weaken.
  • The energy crisis will prompt some governments to backtrack on efforts to phase out the use of nuclear power.

Finance outlook 2023: A new test for financial stability
  • Weakening economic output and rising interest rates will lead to more difficult conditions for banks, insurers and fund managers in 2023 than in the past two years.
  • The impact will be particularly acute in North America and Europe, where governments will offer support. The environment will be tough in Asia as well, although policy rates will rise by less.
  • Heavily indebted developing countries will find it harder to refinance foreign debt, driving some to default or require rescues to avoid it. However, the International Monetary Fund will continue its lenient treatment of economies requiring its financing programs.
  • The current capital-market crunch will hobble a wide variety of loss-making fintech challengers that sought to outflank incumbents in banking, payments and other activities.

Healthcare outlook 2023: The aftermath of the pandemic
  • Healthcare spending will fall in 2023 in real terms, given high inflation and slow economic growth, forcing difficult decisions on how to provide care.
  • Digitalization of the healthcare system will continue, but the use of health data will come under stricter regulation in the US, Europe and China.
  • Patent cliffs for key drugs and measures to control pharmaceutical pricing in the US, India and elsewhere will force some major pharma companies to spur growth through deals.
  • Supply-chain disruptions will continue to push up drugmakers' costs, despite investment in more localized pharmaceutical production.

Technology and telecoms outlook 2023: The battle for digital supremacy
  • The metaverse will not become mass-market in 2023, but this will not stop heavy investment in the technology. The drive to standardization and the battle with web3 will be at the forefront.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to develop, after several breakthroughs in 2022, but will encounter challenges from new regulations in key jurisdictions.
  • Semiconductors will continue to be a geopolitical tool between the US and China, involving many other countries. Some companies producing the most advanced products and equipment will benefit.
  • Asian telecommunications companies will continue to look for consolidation in 2023. Mobile markets with four or more mobile network operators, such as Sri Lanka, Japan and India, are the most likely to secure deals.

Tourism outlook 2023: Turbulence in the travel industry
  • Global tourism arrivals will rise by 30% in 2023, following 60% growth in 2022, but they will still not return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The economic downturn, sanctions on Russia and, above all, China’s zero-covid strategy will be among the factors weighing on the industry.
  • Hotels, restaurants and airports will struggle to cope with labor shortages, wage demands, and high food and energy prices.
  • Even so, international airlines are expected to return to profitability, benefiting from continued pent-up demand.
  • The impact of climate change on the industry will become more apparent, with high temperatures, water shortages and floods forcing tourism destinations to take action.

Useful for companies developing their global business strategy for the coming year, the report presents the following macroeconomic key points:
  • The war in Ukraine, combined with lockdowns in China, has exacerbated supply-chain disruptions and pushed up global inflation, forcing EIU to downgrade its forecasts for economic growth in 2023.
  • Many governments, particularly in Europe, will be forced to scale back investment in public services, including healthcare, in order to protect households and businesses from the effects of higher prices.
  • While some businesses (particularly in commodities sectors) will benefit from high prices, many will be hit by weak demand and high input costs, particularly for energy.
  • Profitability will be squeezed, while corporate investment will slow amid rising interest rates.
  • However, some companies (notably in pharmaceuticals, technology and retailing) will take advantage of lower stock-market valuations, bankruptcies and government incentives to snap up strategic assets and position themselves for an eventual upturn.

"Amid all this gloom," the EIU encouragingly says "there will be areas of opportunity." Taking the EV market as an example, "online retail sales and tourism will continue to deliver strong growth, particularly in Asia and the Middle East," the report notes. "Innovations—from the metaverse to automated vehicles and data analytics (notably in healthcare)—will attract investment, with some companies also seizing on chances offered by volatile financial markets." I concur that "It will not be an easy year, but it could be a transformative one."

Lastly, The Economist produced a video that looks into which stories may be worth watching in the coming year.

What will you be watching in 2023?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

December 20, 2022

Risk Scenarios That Could Reshape the Global Economy in 2023

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) produces an annual quantitative and qualitative assessment of economic, political and regulatory risks that help readers evaluate potential shifts in a country's operating environment. As this year's report explains, "In 2022 the global repercussions of Russia's invasion of Ukraine shifted global concerns away from coronavirus-related health issues and towards growing political, security and macroeconomic risks." The UK-based organization expects "that ripple effects from the war in Ukraine, global monetary tightening and an economic slowdown in China will weigh on the economy in 2023, with global growth slowing to only 1.6%." The EIU explains that its "white paper explores some of the risks that could lead to even slower growth, or even, trigger a global recession."

Below are ten risk scenarios that could reshape the global economy in 2023:
  1. Cold winter exacerbates Europe's energy crisis (High probability; Very high impact)
  2. Extreme weather adds to commodity price spikes, fueling global food insecurity (High probability; High impact)
  3. Direct conflict erupts between China and Taiwan, forcing US to intervene (Moderate probability; Very high impact)
  4. High global inflation fuels social unrest (Very high probability; Moderate impact)
  5. New variant of coronavirus, or another infectious disease, sends global economy back into recession (Moderate probability; Very high impact)
  6. Inter-state cyberwar cripples state infrastructure in major economies (Moderate probability; Very high impact)
  7. Further deterioration in West-China ties forces full decoupling of global economy (Moderate probability; High impact)
  8. Aggressive monetary tightening leads to global recession (Moderate probability; Moderate impact)
  9. China's zero-covid policy leads to severe recession (Low probability; High impact)
  10. Russia-Ukraine conflict turns into global war (Very low probability; Very high impact)

While I agree with the high placing of cold winter exacerbating Europe's energy crisis, I am more concerned with the risk of extreme weather adding to commodity price spikes which will result in exasperating global food insecurity. "Climate change models point to an increased frequency of extreme weather events," explains the EIU. "So far these have been sporadic and in different parts of the world, but they could start to happen more synchronously and for prolonged periods." Moreover, "Severe droughts and heatwaves in Europe, China, India and the US in 2022 are contributing to rising prices of some foodstuffs. In addition, the war between Russia and Ukraine (two of the world’s largest agricultural exporters) has led to severe price spikes and risks creating global shortages of grains and fertilizers (which are crucial for harvests) in 2023." The report worryingly warns that "The world could face a prolonged period of crop shortages and skyrocketing prices, raising the risk of food insecurity (or even famine).

Just as high food prices was a contributing factor that a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s, global food prices are again high could lead to social unrest. As the report notes, "Persistent inflationary pressures, caused by supply-chain disruptions and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are pushing up global inflation, which is at its highest level since the 1990s. If inflation rises much higher than wage increases, making it hard for poorer households to purchase basic staples, it could spark social unrest." The report adds that "In an extreme scenario, protests could push workers in major economies and employed by large manufacturers to coordinate large-scale strikes demanding higher salaries that match inflation. Such movements, similar to those that have affected critical services in the UK (ports, postal services, barristers and railways), could paralyze entire industries and spill over to other sectors or countries, weighing on global growth.

Finally, my colleagues and I are closely watching the further deterioration in West-China ties that may result in the full decoupling of the global economy. "Western democracies, notably the US and the EU, are concerned about China's support to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine," the report explains. "In parallel, China is concerned about US-Taiwan relations and efforts by the US to convince other democracies to pressure it using restrictions on trade, technology and finance." Moreover, "The EU has also taken an increasingly confrontational stance towards China's human rights abuses in Xinjiang, unequal treatment of EU and Chinese firms, and its subsidy-led industrial model." The report adds that "In an extreme scenario, China could initiate military maneuvers in the South China Sea (most likely in Taiwan), exacerbating tensions and pushing the West to unite in imposing sweeping trade and investment restrictions on China. This would force some markets (and companies) to choose sides." China could, in retaliation, "block exports of raw materials and goods that are crucial to Western economies, such as rare earths. This would have disastrous economic effects and force companies to operate two supply chains while fearing operational disruptions."

Which risk scenarios do you think will affect your business? What strategies are you implementing to make your company resilient to those risks?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

December 15, 2022

Report Provides Recommendations for Closing Mobile Internet's 'Usage Gap' and Getting More People Online

In the latest version of its annual report of the state of mobile internet connectivity, the GSM Association (GSMA) notes that "By the end of 2021, 4.3 billion people were using mobile internet, an increase of almost 300 million since the end of 2020. Growth in mobile internet adoption has almost entirely been driven by people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As a result, for the first time, half of the population in LMICs is using mobile internet."

Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) via the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, the UK-based organization, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, explains that the findings of its "report are based on the GSMA Consumer Survey and the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index (MCI), along with a range of other industry reports. The GSMA Consumer Survey has been carried out every year since 2017 to understand access and use of mobile and mobile internet in LMICs." What is more, "This report presents the latest updates on mobile internet connectivity globally and by region, with a focus on LMICs, where 94% of the unconnected population live. For the first time, it also presents the data on connectivity for adults only. The report then examines mobile broadband coverage and infrastructure."

The report's key findings include:
  • Mobile internet use has reached 55% of the world's population.
  • Mobile broadband coverage continues to slowly expand, with 95% of the world's population covered by a mobile broadband network.
  • At the end of 2021, there were 3.2 billion people living within the footprint of a mobile broadband network but not using mobile internet.
  • Connectivity varies significantly by different socioeconomic groups and by country income levels, with 94% of the 'unconnected' living in LMICs.
  • Across all regions, there are now more mobile connections using 3G or 4G/5G smartphones than basic or feature phones.
  • Data usage and network quality continue to increase – but with a persistent gap between high- and lower-income countries.
  • Across the surveyed countries, mobile internet users are using their mobile phones more frequently for a range of online activities.
  • Awareness of mobile internet continues to grow but has slowed significantly since 2019.
  • Affordability and skills remain the two greatest barriers to mobile internet adoption and use.
  • Across LMICs, affordability of data has continued to improve but affordability of entry-level internet-enabled handsets has remained relatively unchanged.

The report correctly notes that a collective effort is needed to bridge the digital divide. "Strong collective effort is needed to achieve meaningful connectivity, which allows users to have a safe,  satisfying, enriching and productive online experience that is affordable. It requires informed, targeted action by all stakeholders, including mobile operators, policymakers, international partners and the broader private sector." Crucially, "Such strategies should factor in the structural issues underpinning the disparities in adoption and use, such as differences in income and education levels, and restrictive social norms."

The GSMA concludes its report by presenting the following barriers that should be addressed to bridge the digital divide:
  • Knowledge and digital skills: Improving digital skills and literacy, as well as driving awareness and understanding of mobile internet and its benefits, is critical to increase digital inclusion. Digital skills initiatives should focus on the life needs and circumstances of users.
  • Affordability of handsets and data: Affordability of handsets and data remains a key challenge. Approaches to improve affordability should include efforts to lower the cost of internet-enabled handsets and data, innovative data pricing strategies and handset financing options, in addition to providing targeted subsidies and tax policies that promote the uptake of internet-enabled devices and data services.
  • Relevance: Local digital ecosystems in many LMICs remain underdeveloped and under-resourced. Investment in local digital ecosystems and an enabling policy environment can accelerate growth in local content, services and applications that meet the needs of people in their communities, in their own language.
  • Safety and security: Concerns about safety and security, including online harassment or cyberbullying, misinformation, disinformation and fraud, are keeping people from going online and having a positive internet experience. Stakeholders should provide users, especially women, with the tools to increase their knowledge and skills to mitigate online risks. Appropriate mechanisms and frameworks that recognize these online risks should be put in place to help build consumer trust.
  • Access: Using the internet depends on enablers such as electricity, formal identification, sales agents and accessibility features. Stakeholders can increase mobile internet adoption by focusing on, for example, facilitating inclusive and transparent registration processes for mobile, and making services, sales channels and training facilities accessible to underserved groups, such as women and persons with disabilities, alongside improving accessibility features.

I agree with the premise that ensuring people are able to use mobile internet, rather than focusing purely on network coverage, is the key to driving digital inclusion for 3.2 billion people worldwide. While this number impressively represents the equivalent of 40 percent of the world's population who are covered by a mobile broadband network, more must be done to reduce barriers that prevent them from getting online or what the industry calls the 'usage gap.'

What are your recommendations for eliminating the usage gap?

By the way, I recommend watching a webinar the GSMA produced that includes a discussion with the report's authors.

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

December 1, 2022

GSMA Encourages Latin American Policy Makers to Enact Reforms to Promote Digital Skills and Education

In its latest annual report on the state of the mobile economy in Latin America, which is available in English and español, the GSM Association (GSMA) points out that "mobile connectivity remains the main form of internet connectivity, particularly as – for many – it is the only form of connectivity. At the end of 2021, the number of mobile internet users in Latin America exceeded 380 million, equating to 60% of the population. However, another 36% live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but do not use mobile internet services (known as the usage gap)."

The GSMA, which is a UK-based organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, also notes that "Addressing the main barriers to mobile internet adoption, including affordability, safety and security, and knowledge and digital skills, will extend the benefits of the internet and digital technology to more people in society. This requires a concerted effort by the mobile industry and its partners."

What is more, "4G is Latin America's leading mobile technology, with more than 410 million connections at the end of 2021. Take-up has more than doubled over the past five years driven by network expansion and efforts by mobile operators to transition users away from legacy networks."

The GSMA also notes that "5G is currently at a nascent stage in Latin America. By the end of June 2022, seven countries in the region had launched commercial 5G services. The current adoption rate is around 1% of total connections; this is expected to grow to 11% by 2025."

The acceleration of 5G adoption will create new opportunities for companies developing mobile software as a service platforms optimized for the Latin American market. The report says "The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the huge opportunity for digital technology to disrupt legacy business processes. This, in turn, is driving investments in the tech start-up ecosystem." Encouragingly, "In 2021, Latin American start-ups raised a record $19.5 billion in funding – more than three times the amount raised in 2019. This resulted in 18 start-ups in the region achieving 'unicorn' status (start-ups with a market value of $1 billion before going public). Fintech remains a significant driver, but several other sectors, including education and e-commerce, are seeing a growing share of investments."

The report also explains how "the metaverse, a parallel virtual world populated with avatars, has gained significant mindshare in Latin America. As such, the region is attracting the attention of global metaverse ecosystem players, such as Meta. In addition, a growing number of local ecosystem players, including government agencies, have announced activities across the metaverse value chain."

With respect to the mobile sector making a significant contribution to the economy and wider society, the GSMA says: "In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated 7.4% of GDP in Latin America – a contribution that amounted to more than $345 billion of economic value added." Moreover, "The mobile ecosystem also supported more than 1.6 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with almost $30 billion raised through taxes on the sector. Over the period to 2025, mobile's contribution will grow by around $20 billion, as countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services."

The report's concluding chapter focuses on how policy decisions are key to accelerating Latin America's digital future. I support the GSMA's assertion that "Unlocking the potential of mobile connectivity requires policy measures to support network investments and improve the affordability of digital services for consumers. Policy priorities should be based on a country's local context and level of digital development, which requires granular and reliable data. There is also a need to promote digital skills and education across all parts of society."

What opportunities are you seeing in the further digitalization of the Latin American mobile economy?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

November 23, 2022

5G-Related Activities Are Picking Up in Sub-Saharan Africa

"As countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world, transition into a post-pandemic economic recovery phase, mobile connectivity is set to play a crucial role in defining the 'new normal,' according to the GSMA. In its latest annual report on the state of region's mobile economy, the UK-based organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide adds that "Authorities see an opportunity to leverage digital technology and services to build economies that are more resilient to future shocks, enhance productivity and efficiency in service delivery, and ensure more inclusive socioeconomic development."

What is more, "In Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of the adult population are now connected to mobile internet services. However, another 44% live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but do not yet use mobile internet services (the usage gap)." The report importantly notes that "Addressing the main barriers to mobile internet adoption for these people, including affordability and digital skills, should be a priority for stakeholders in order to realize the potential of mobile connectivity to drive economic growth and development in a post-pandemic world."

Other key findings from the report include:
  • In 2021, the mobile ecosystem supported more than 3.2 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with $16 billion raised through taxes on the sector.
  • By 2025, mobile's contribution to the GDP of Sub-Sahara Africa will grow by $65 billion (to almost $155 billion), as the countries in the region increasingly benefit from increased take-up of mobile services.
  • By 2025, 4G will account for a third of mobile connections in the region, compared to under a fifth of connections in 2021.

The report encouragingly explains that "5G-related activities are beginning to pick up across the region. These include 5G spectrum auctions, 5G pilots and commercial trials, and efforts to develop locally relevant 5G use cases." Moreover, "While the general consensus remains that a widespread 5G rollout is more of a long-term prospect in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a strong case to utilize the technology in some scenarios to serve certain connectivity requirements for individuals and enterprises."

With respect presence in the metaverse in Sub-Saharan Africa, the GSMA says that while "The metaverse (which continues to lack a universally agreed-upon definition) is still nascent. ... significant levels of investment in metaverse initiatives and market-size estimates reflect the opportunities possible from the rapid advancement of the metaverse over the coming years."

The report adds that "The metaverse ecosystem is growing around the world, including in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the region presents significant growth prospects for the metaverse, given its young tech-savvy population and thriving tech startup ecosystem. This is beginning to attract the attention of global metaverse ecosystem players."

The GSMA correctly asserts that policymakers can help spur inclusive development. "Mobile connectivity has the potential to accelerate Sub-Saharan Africa's digital transformation and drive socioeconomic advancement in areas such as healthcare, education, digital commerce, industrial automation and smart city infrastructure. Realizing this potential requires policy measures to support network investments and improve the affordability of digital services for consumers. Governments and regulators in the region should therefore adopt forward-looking spectrum management and fiscal policies:, which includes:
  • "creating a spectrum roadmap to ensure there is enough spectrum to meet surging demand for mobile services in both the short and long term
  • "ensuring access to mid-band spectrum, in particular 3.5 GHz, given its importance to the future of 5G
  • "accelerating access to sub-1 GHz spectrum to provide widespread rural mobile broadband services
  • "applying best-practice principles of taxation as recommended by international organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF."

Infographic: GSMA

How do you see mobile connectivity driving the acceleration of Sub-Saharan Africa's digital transformation and driving socioeconomic advancement?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

November 19, 2022

KOTRA Silicon Valley Forum Presents Benefits and Risks of the Metaverse

Under the theme of "The Metaverse is Yours," the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in Silicon Valley, a non-profit agency operated by the South Korean government that serves as one of the 127 overseas KOTRA branches worldwide, held its annual convention, K-Global @ Silicon Valley 2022, from Nov. 7th-8th in Santa Clara, Calif. The event started with an information and communications technology (ICT) forum focused on innovation which included discussions about the metaverse and its four key aspects of content, platforms, networks, and devices. After welcoming remarks from Korean dignitaries, the event featured the following keynote speakers:
  • Shilpa Kolhatkar, who serves as Global Head of AI Nations Business Development at NVIDIA, talked about how the metaverse is the next evolution of the internet, the home to connected virtual worlds and digital twins, and a place for real work as well as play. She said NVIDIA's platforms provide enterprises the ability to develop physically accurate, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled, virtual simulations that are synchronized with the real world. Ms. Kolhatkar also noted that digital twins are transforming industries and scientific discovery, as well as enabling developers, researchers, and enterprises who use them to design, simulate, and optimize products, equipment, and processes in real-time, before ever going to production.
  • Heesuk "Ricky" Kang, Head of Business at Naver Z, discussed how his company's ZEPETO Studio platform features 68 million Studio items sales created by over 2.3 million creators to 300 million users worldwide. Mr. Kang said ZEPETO, which is the fastest growing avatar platform in Asia, is popular among Gen Zs who express themselves while meeting, collaborating, and creating with others.
  • Jason Mayes, Head of Business, Lead Web ML & AL Developer Advocate at Google, focused his presentation on TensorFlow.js, a library for machine learning (ML) in JavaScript. He explained how TensorFlow makes it easy for beginners and experts to create machine learning models for desktop, mobile, web, and cloud. Mr. Mayes added that data can be the most important factor in the success of a user's ML endeavors and TensorFlow offers multiple data tools to help consolidate, clean and preprocess data at scale. I appreciate his assertion that TensorFlow empowers "machine learning for everyone."

The next segment of the ICT Forum focused on a panel discussion. Shawn Flynn, Principal of Global Capital Markets and host of "The Silicon Valley Podcast," moderated an insightful discussion featuring Pouneh Kaufman, Group Project Manager at Microsoft, Ray Wu, Managing Partner at Alumni Ventures, and Sean Jun, Product Manager at XL8. Key points from the moderated session included:
  • The metaverse is an evolution, not a revolution. And it is one that businesses should not ignore.
  • The metaverse may profoundly change how businesses and consumers interact with products, services and each other (i.e., enriching the customer experience and introducing virtual products).
  • The metaverse will help support sustainability efforts by saving both time and resources used to travel to attend meetings, lectures, and social gatherings (I expect the use of the metaverse will help companies achieve their environment, social, and governance goals).
  • The metaverse allows the ability to collect new data on customers.
  • The metaverse will have profound benefits in various sectors including education, healthcare, and e-commerce.

Image Credit: KOTRA Silicon Valley
The panel, however, presented a number of risks associated with the metaverse which will require new strategies and methods to build trust. What is more, as with Web 2.0 (the current internet), users of Web 3.0 will need to contend with cyberbullying and harassment issues, as well as identity theft, unauthorized data collection by corporations, and cybersecurity threats from malicious actors.

Lastly, the event featured an expo featuring metaverse and AI-related small- and medium-sized enterprises from Korea that showcased their products, services, and technology. While you can view a listing containing all of the exhibiting companies here, below are a few that I found of particular interest: 

  • Corevalue Ltd. is developing a service that can help everyone manage their health conveniently and easily. Accordingly, a smart camera and telehealth app were developed and the Dr. Clobo brand was launched in August 2020. Its healthcare camera can take detailed pictures of the mouth, ears and nose, and based on this, non-face-to-face medical consultation and health management.
  • Grebt developed a bloodless-based diabetes measurement sensor and diabetes measurement device that eliminates the fear of blood sampling and the pain of blood collection. Its urine glucose meter measures the concentration of glucose in urine and reacts blood glucose in urine. It consists of a strip, a disposable consumable that generates an electrochemical signal.
  • NdotLight is the developer of NdotCAD, a 3D/AR/VR content design tool which allows any users including non-professionals to express and share their imagination in 3D with ease. The company has lowered the hurdle for 3D content creation by making intricate 3D design process easy with increased usability while maximizing output quality by applying advanced technologies. With their 3D engine, they serve enterprise clients also by providing customizable solution to meet any B2B needs.

As we transition into the post-pandemic era, the K-Global @ Silicon Valley event provided a good opportunity to explore the future of the metaverse, AI, and other ICTs. What benefits and risks do you think the metaverse will bring to consumers and businesses alike?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

November 7, 2022

GSMA Report Presents Recommendations for Policymakers to Help Realize Europe's Digital Agenda

In its latest annual report on the state of Europe's mobile economy, the GSMA, a UK-based organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, says "Mobile networks are vital to economic recovery and realizing green and digital transformation across Europe. Two years into the EU's Digital Decade, the connectivity target of 'Gigabit for everyone, 5G everywhere' has never felt more urgent." The report also notes that "The Digital Europe Program, the Connecting Europe Facility and the recovery funds provided to EU Member States offer an opportunity for operators to partner with governments to improve connectivity across society and drive post-pandemic economic recovery across the region."

While the adoption of 5G is accelerating in Europe, 4G remains remains "the dominant technology across the region, accounting for just over half of total connections by 2025," the report explains However, "4G adoption in Europe will peak in 2022 and then decline." Moreover, "The pace of 5G coverage expansion across Europe will be a key factor in the transition from 4G to 5G. Although 5G network coverage in Europe will rise to 70% in 2025 (from 47% in 2021), nearly a third of the population will remain without 5G coverage. This compares to 2% or less in South Korea and the US."

As for the mobile industry's contribution to Europe's economy and social well-being, the GSMA notes that "In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated 4.5% of GDP in Europe – a contribution that amounted to approximately €760 billion of economic value added." Furthermore, "The mobile ecosystem also supported approximately 2.6 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with €109 billion raised through taxation. Over the period to 2030, 5G technologies will drive further contributions to the region’s economy, impacting key industries such as manufacturing and public administration."

"As the first industry to have fully committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," the report notes that "the mobile industry continues to have substantial positive effects on lives and livelihoods. In 2021, the mobile industry increased its impact on all SDGs, with the average year-on-year increase accelerating compared to 2020. The average SDG impact score across the 17 SDGs reached 53, up from 49 in 2020 and 32 in 2015, meaning the mobile industry is achieving 53% of what it could potentially contribute to the SDGs."

With respect to how European policymakers can help realize the digital agenda, the GSMA points out that "As economies and societies around the world digitalize, the acceleration of 5G in Europe is necessary to ensure that traditional industrial and manufacturing strengths are not dragged down by weaknesses in the ICT sector. With the limitations of existing networks becoming more apparent amid an increasingly distributed workforce, there is also a need to ensure fair and even access for all."

To achieve this, the GSMA says "it is vital to create the right conditions for private infrastructure investment, network modernization and digital innovation. A financially sustainable mobile sector is key to the delivery of innovative services and the deployment of new networks. Policymakers should collaborate with the private sector to stimulate investment in next-generation networks that will form the backbone for Europe's economic recovery by enabling employment, entrepreneurship and innovation while helping achieve essential climate-related goals."

Practical steps that authorities in Europe can take include the following:
  • Rethink competition policy and enforcement in terms of harmonized conditions for investment and doing business.
  • Fairly allocate the costs of network traffic to the largest drivers, to deliver an economic incentive to use network capacity more efficiently.
  • Foster supply-chain diversity and competition, to improve network security and resilience through disaggregation and greater interoperability.
  • Adjust the regulatory framework to enable the data economy to thrive in Europe, by ensuring a level playing field in digital markets, services and taxation.
  • Implement fair spectrum licensing conditions and avoid excessive charges and limited durations of licenses, which can undermine investment.
  • Implement cost-reduction measures and simplification for network deployment to achieve Europe’s Digital Decade connectivity targets.

Infographic: GSMA

While I appreciate how the economic contribution of mobile industry continues to expand in Europe, it is discouraging that market dynamics are impeding European 5G progress. As GSMA's press release puts it directly: "Europe’s ambitious Digital Decade goals remain threatened by slower 5G rollout compared to competitor markets" and "tough market conditions are leaving Europe trailing its global peers." On a more positive tone, European operators are "at the forefront of cutting-edge, energy-efficient technologies and the use of renewables, with many already reaching 100% renewable electricity use across their footprints, powering their network infrastructure, data centers and other sites."

What are your recommendations for how policymakers can help realize Europe's digital agenda?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

November 4, 2022

Indonesia's Opportunity to Leverage Digital Assets and Wireless Technology Infrastructure to Address the Climate Emergency

If there is any chance of meeting the goal set forth in the Paris Climate Accords, an international treaty on climate change that was signed in 2015 that aims to keep the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels, various industries will need to make efforts to employ climate technology help achieve this ambitious goal to substantially reduce the effects of climate change. Having both extensive experience working in Indonesia and within the mobile industry worldwide, a report by the GSMA caught my attention that explores the potential for mobile-enabled technology solutions to enhance Indonesia's climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the report notes, "Indonesia faces a unique set of climate change challenges, from extreme flooding to extended drought, changes in rainfall patterns and temperature and sea level rise." Moreover, "These risks are intensified by a dense population of 270 million people living in hazard-prone areas, and approximately 60 percent living in low-lying coastal cities. Indonesia is the world's eighth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Forestry and other land use practices, energy and waste are key contributors."

The GSMA, a UK-based organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, explains that its report "presents an overview of the main climate challenges facing the country and examines the potential role of mobile-enabled technology in unlocking novel and innovative responses to climate change. All this centers around three focus areas for climate action in Indonesia: energy, waste and natural resource management."

What is more, "To create a clear picture of the distribution of climate technology in Indonesia, including where investment is primarily focused, the Mobile Innovation Hub Indonesia team reviewed publicly available literature and compiled a list of 48 examples of technology-enabled climate solutions currently deployed, piloted or in the proof-of-concept stage in Indonesia’s energy, waste and natural resource management sectors." The report also points out that "The highest concentration of climate technology was found in the energy and waste sectors, with just under half of climate solutions relating to waste. Technologies for sorting and recycling in the waste sector, as well as energy management and natural resource management are some of the most prevalent solutions."

"Interviews with stakeholders, including MNOs, mobile infrastructure organizations, government officials and ministries, revealed technical, political and behavioral barriers that are limiting the uptake of mobile-enabled solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation."

Three key barriers that is slowing uptake of mobile-enabled solutions in Indonesia include:

Technical barriers: The availability of mobile and digital infrastructure and access to affordable and connected devices. Although robust government approaches are making strong headway, there are still regional and remote island locations without sufficient connectivity. When it comes to implementing climate technologies these are important considerations.

Political barriers: The political, social and ecological decisions and actions affecting climate change decision-making or uptake of mobile-enabled technologies.
  • Collaborative environment: Limited collaboration between governments, the private sector and communities
  • Data sharing and management: Lack of data integration and reliance on manual data collection processes
  • Policy and regulation: Lack of policy incentives and weak regulations that hinder industry
  • Investor appetite: Investments in Indonesia focus on technology in general rather than climate technology specifically
  • Access to capital: Weak appetite for investment has left innovators with low access to capital
  • Talent: Limited access to talent to develop, roll out and monitor mobile-enabled technology solutions
Behavioral barriers: The individual and collective assumptions, beliefs, values and worldviews on climate change responses:
  • Unclear value propositions: Inability to demonstrate the value proposition to end users, coupled with cultural barriers
  • Digital literacy: A barrier for end users that lead to suboptimal use or the need to embed manual back-up methods when rolling out solutions

To address these barriers, the GSMA recommends an ecosystem approach in which mobile-enabled solutions would provide a clear path to achieve Indonesia's climate goals. This would include:
  1. Investing in mobile-enabled connectivity and digital and climate literacy to reach the most rural areas and offer innovative climate technologies.
  2. Building trust between stakeholders operating in the same ecosystem, creating forums to share lessons, building on successful innovations and developing science-based narratives to strengthen coordination.
  3. Building the capacity of the public sector and communities to implement or use mobile-enabled climate technology to increase uptake.
  4. Using a human-centered design (HCD) approach to ensure climate technology is relevant and the value proposition is clear to end users.

I appreciate how this report explores the potential for mobile-enabled technology solutions to enhance climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in Indonesia. It also presents a useful overview of the main climate challenges facing Indonesia and examines the potential role of mobile-enabled technology in unlocking novel and innovative responses to climate change.

What are you recommendations for how emerging markets like Indonesia can leverage their digital assets and wireless technology infrastructure to address the climate emergency?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.