October 29, 2021

GSMA Presents Recommendations to Asia Pacific Policymakers for How To Accelerate Investment and Innovation for a Digitally Inclusive Society

Following from the previous post about GSMA's 2021 report about China's mobile economy, the UK-based organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, also produced a similar report focused on Asia Pacific's mobile economy. For the purposes of Asia Pacific report, the GSMA clarifies that "industry data and analysis does not include Greater China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), as opposed to previous editions of the report. As a result, the aggregate regional data in this report is not directly comparable with previous reports. Industry data and analysis for the Greater China region are presented in The Mobile Economy China 2021 report."

In explaining how the mobile industry responded to the Covid-19 crisis in the Asia Pacific region, the report importantly says the industry was "particularly instrumental during this period and will be even more integral to the way people live and businesses operate post pandemic." What is more, "Across Asia Pacific, [mobile] operators are using the exceptional scale and utility of mobile networks and services to facilitate innovative digital solutions for large and small enterprises in line with Industry 4.0 objectives. In particular, 5G and IoT will play key roles in the implementation of digital transformation projects across different industries."

The report also presents the following key points:
  • 1.8 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region will subscribe to mobile services by 2025, representing 62% of the region's population. India will account for more than half of new subscribers.
  • 14 percent of total connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025. This is marked by significant 5G-related activities in several new markets, including India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • $860 billion economic value added generated by mobile technologies and services by 2025. Countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.

On the topic of policies to enable digital advancement, the GSMA correctly notes that "The pandemic has emphasized the need for connectivity and the critical role of mobile technology. As Asia Pacific continues to deal with, and ultimately emerges from, the pandemic, connectivity will be crucial to rebuilding economies and making them more resilient to future shocks." Furthermore, "5G networks, cloud services, edge computing, AI, big data and IoT will all play a key role in realizing the full potential of a post-pandemic digital economy."

I support GSMA's assertion that "Now is the time for governments to reassess the business and regulatory environment for mobile services in order to accelerate investment and innovation for a digitally inclusive society." Steps policymakers should take include:
  • cultivate an enabling regulatory environment to bolster connectivity, which in turn supports digital transformation and innovation
  • adopt policies that facilitate infrastructure deployment and create a sustainable investment climate
  • create safe and trustworthy internet environments as more people come online
  • establish an effective spectrum policy that allows for timely and transparent allocation of harmonized spectrum to meet future connectivity demand.
"Actions taken today by policymakers should be seen as an investment into future economic growth, societal development and technological innovation."

Infographic: GSMA Intelligence

Do you agree with GSMA's recommendations to policymakers for how to accelerate investment and innovation for a digitally inclusive society?

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.

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