While 96% of the region has access to mobile broadband, 56% of peoples are not taking advantage of such connectivity services

In its latest industry report on the Asia Pacific region’s adoption of mobile connectivity, the GSMA has concluded that, while mobile broadband networks cover around 96% of populations in the region, only 44% of the region (1.23bn users) are using such services.

The reasons suggested for this penetration gap include: lack of digital skills; affordability; and online safety concerns.

Four other findings in the report cover:

  1. Economic and societal benefits of mobile connectivityIn 2021, mobile technologies and services contributed to 5% of GDP in the region, which equates to around US$770bn of economic value. This ecosystem supported approximately 8.8m jobs in 2021 and contributed to the funding of the public sector, with around US$80bn raised through taxation.
  2. Growth of 5G connections Today, 5G is commercially available in 14 markets, with others, including India and Vietnam, going ‘live’ in the coming months. According to the report, by 2025, there will be more than 400m 5G connections, equivalent to just over 14% of total mobile connections. Progress is more advanced in countries such as Australia, Japan and South Korea; 5G is expected to account for 55% of Singapore’s mobile connections by then.
  3. The Metaverse momentum Government bodies in the region have started outlining plans to harness the potential of the emergent Metaverse to increase the efficiency and quality of public services. South Korea has plans to spend UD$186.7m to create its metaverse ecosystem, and Thailand’s Tourism Authority has leveraged the technology to boost tourism in the country.
  4. Regulatory regimes for digital innovationThe report suggests that policy makers and regulators fuel growth and innovation by establishing a flexible forward-looking regulatory regime to support mobile network deployment and operations.

According to the firm’s Head of Asia Pacific, Julian Gorman: “Addressing the usage gap and extending the benefits of the internet to more people in society is critical. 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.”