In the press conference embarked on GSMA presentation with the subject ‘Breaking Barriers to the mobile connectivity usage gap’, the experts revealed that while the mobile usage gap has decreased since 2022, it still impacts 3bn people globally, of which two in three do not own a mobile phone.
This coverage gap has been a subject under discussion during a press conference on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the second day of the MWC Kigali 2023 where various experts shared figures on how mobile internet adoption slowed over the past year.
During the press session, key participants included Max Cuvellier Giacomelli, the Head of Mobile for Development at GSMA, Angela Wamola, who chaired the session and is the Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at GSMA, and Saint Hilary Doe-Tamakloe, the Chief Consumer and Digital Officer at MTN Rwanda.
The GSMA’s findings emphasized that 57% of the world’s population (4.6 billion people) currently use mobile internet, while a coverage gap of 5% (approximately 400 million people) lacks access to mobile broadband. Several barriers to mobile connectivity were identified, including knowledge and skills gaps, affordability issues, security concerns, lack of relevant content, and limited access to network enablers.
The Sub-Saharan Africa region was highlighted as having the highest usage gap globally, with 680 million unconnected individuals (59% of the population). Bridging these gaps is crucial for economic development, digital inclusion, and achieving UN 2030 digital inclusion goals. Max Cuvellier Giacomelli stressed the need for industry collaboration to overcome these barriers and promote mobile internet adoption.