The GSMA has published its Mobile Economy Asia Pacific report for 2022. This year’s report shows that there is a massive gap between the availability of mobile internet services and the number of people who have actually adopted digital tech.
On that front, the report showed that the APAC region has invested heavily in mobile infrastructure, to the point that mobile broadband networks (from 3G to 5G) now offer coverage for 96 percent of the entire population. However, less than half (44 percent) of that population is currently taking advantage of those mobile services. The GSMA attributed that to people’s unfamiliarity with digital tech, as well as the high price tag and some lingering concerns about cybersecurity.
“Addressing the usage gap and extending the benefits of the internet to more people in society is critical,” said GSMA APAC Head Julian Gorman. “However, it will require a concerted effort by a broad range of stakeholders, working together with mobile operators and other ecosystem players such as device manufacturers and digital content creators, to drive adoption and overcome the barriers we see today.”
For its part, the GSMA encouraged countries in the APAC region to prioritize policies that will incentivize mobile development and raise mobile inclusion. In that regard, the organization believes that a strong mobile ecosystem with high adoption rates is a net boon for any economy. The 2022 APAC report indicates the mobile industry currently employs around 8.8 million people, and accounted for five percent of the region’s GDP in 2021. That created roughly $770 billion worth of economic value, and produced approximately $80 billion in tax revenue for APAC governments.
Moving forward, the GSMA expects the industry to continue to invest in the creation of more robust 5G networks. 5G networks are already live in 14 different markets, and more should launch in India and Vietnam within the next few months. Based on that growth, the GSMA predicts that there will be more than 400 million active 5G connections in the region by 2025.
That number that will account for more than 14 percent of all APAC mobile connections. The GSMA suggested that 5G tech will be especially popular in more developed countries like Singapore and South Korea, where administrators are also trying to build up the metaverse to facilitate the provision of public services.