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A glimpse into the Mobile Economy

April 20, 2017
BTS

GSMA has recently published the 2017 Mobile Economy Overlook, where it has provided latest insights on the mobile industry worldwide. 2016 has been a significant year for the global mobile industry. Two thirds of the world´s population had a mobile subscription with 4.8 billion unique subscribers. 7.9 billion SIM connections were generated with a 100% penetration rate, which is forecast to reach 9.7 billion by 2020. Data growth is driving revenues and operator investments and mobile has economic and social impact across the world.

Revenue, innovation and growth

In 2016, total mobile revenues reached $1.05 trillion with a 2.2% growth from the previous year. Developing markets such as China and India accounted for a considerable growth rate. There is no doubt that the global mobile market keeps attracting investments, but with increasing competition and regulatory intervention.

In terms of mobile broadband network, the proportion of 4G within mobile connections is predicted to almost double from 23% to 41% by the end of the decade. However, according to GSMA, 5G will see a major shift in how cellular networks are designed and what they are used for. It´s capabilities will evolve over time. 5G networks are forecast to cover around a third of the global population by 2025, with adoption reaching 11 billion connections.

The mobile ecosystem has also witnessed a shift of consumer engagement to mobile and with a global subscriber base that is reaching 5 billion, it has indeed created a global digital platform where nearly everyone and everything is connected. World most used chatting apps such as Whatsapp, Messenger and Wechat no longer limit themselves to be a chatting platform, but are gathering diverse functions to just one platform. Wechat, the most used chatting app in China for example, has become a multi-functional platform where online purchases are made and money is transferred.

Economic growth, social challenges and socioeconomic impact 

According to GSMA, mobile technologies and services generated 4,4% of the global GDP in 2016, which equals to around $3.3 trillion of economic value, and is forecast to grow to more than $4.2 trillion by 2020. In 2016, the mobile ecosystem supported directly and indirectly 28.5 million jobs globally, a figure predicted to increase to 30.9 million by 2020.

Apart from the contributions to economic growth, mobile has also a huge impact on the Sustainable Development Goals, a 17-point plan adopted by the United Nation Member States aiming to end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality by 2030. According to the GSMA 2016 Mobile Industry Impact Report, although geographically the mobile industry has greater impact on developed countries for their heavy investments in connectivity that result in a higher penetration of voice, data and IoT services, it´s also making steady progress in developing economies through increased connectivity and access to information. Specific areas like financial inclusion, healthcare, women empowerment and energy are all highly benefited from mobile technologies. As claimed by the UN, “The spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies.”

More importantly, mobile can help deliver impacts to the international development community on socioeconomic level. The convergence of various services such as mobile financial services and M2M (machine to machine) is increasingly helping to provide affordable access to basic quality good and services. Leveraging mobile technologies can also improve access to energy, water and sanitation, which are some of the most urgent problems to solve with the global community. With the Master in Digital Solutions Development, BTS provides talents with essential skills of mobile development and tech related fields and thus gives them the chance to form part of this international community and make the world a better place.

Regulation for the digital age

In today´s digital age, policy makers and regulators have to be fully aware of the constant changing environment where operators are no longer sole provider of communications and information services but are competing with various service providers. The digital market calls for a different and more nuanced approach to competition policy while addressing the need for securing data and safeguarding privacy. The EU´s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a good example in this sense, which is set out to encourage data driven innovation by maintaining a principle-based approach and introducing a more dynamic framework focused on addressing outcomes.

At the meantime, business leaders from all industries should also keep up with the pace of the tech disruptions, regulators and innovation opportunities as they will deeply affect their business activities and have great impact on the organization change management. That´s why through the Master of Digital Transformation Leadership, BTS offers the unique insight of the mobile industry and the constant changing tech environment so that one can learn how to capture opportunities, reduce risks, optimize performances and become the next generation of digital leader of the industry.

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