At TSIC, We believe strongly that connectivity is critical to global innovation. In some parts of the world, connectivity through mobile devices is the primary channel for people to receive information. However, not everyone has the same level of access to information as their smartphones may rely on older generation networks with slower transmission speeds and unreliable connections. The experience using a smartphone over 2G or even 3G is simply not the same as 4G.
Happily though, things are changing. Since we sponsored the Internet Society’s 2015 Internet Global Report on the Mobile Evolution and Development of the Internet, much progress has been made in reaching the next billion Internet users.
According to the GSMA, more than 70 percent of the global population now has mobile broadband. This figure has risen by 30 percent just since the 2015 Internet Global Report was published in the middle of 2015. There are several reasons why this has happened. For one, operators around the world are upgrading their networks; costs have gone down while demand for connectivity and speed have increased. Also, smartphones are getting cheaper and cheaper with many under $200 and some for even less than $100. Low-cost phones are also becoming feature rich, making them more appealing today than three years ago.
Why is this important? Mobile connection to the Internet in developing countries can provide critical access to essential services, such as healthcare, banking and many others. It also makes innovation from anywhere in the world possible. There are many inspiring stories of local entrepreneurs. For example, a woman in Nairobi used her smartphone to create an agricultural services app for farmers called iCow that provides alerts for important events, such as when cows need to be fed. Another man in Kenya helped others take the mobile leap by writing an app for the iPhone that was published on Apple’s app store without him ever touching an iPhone – he wrote the app on a computer. As Michael Kende, Chief Economist of the Internet Society, put it, “The best way to bridge the mobile Internet gap is for local entrepreneurs to write apps for local needs.”
These stories of local entrepreneurs are inspiring and at TeliaSonera International Carrier, we see an opportunity in everyone for innovation with mobile connectivity being the bridge. Ultimately the core of all mobile connectivity is a backbone and with that in mind, we’re doing our best to help make the mobile leaps of the future even bigger and braver.