Mobile broadband adoption faces key barriers in Asia Pacific in 5G era

New Delhi: As 5G adoption is set to accelerate in the Asia Pacific with India and Vietnam going live in a few months, lack of digital skills, affordability and online safety concerns are key reasons why the region has the largest regional mobile broadband usage gap worldwide, a report showed on Thursday.

According to the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Economy Asia Pacific 2022′ report, mobile broadband networks cover around 96 per cent of the population in the region which is a testament to operators’ investment in 3G, 4G and, increasingly, 5G infrastructure.

However, just 44 per cent of the population (1.23 billion users) are using mobile internet services.

The reasons for this discrepancy include lack of digital skills, affordability and online safety concerns, the report mentioned.

“Addressing the usage gap and extending the benefits of the internet to more people in society is critical,” said GSMA’s Head of Asia Pacific, 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,” Gorman said in a statement.

According to the report, by 2025, there will be more than 400 million 5G connections, equivalent to just over 14 per cent of total mobile connections.

5G adoption is set to accelerate across the Asia Pacific region as the technology’s footprint expands.

“Today, it is commercially available in 14 markets, with others, including India and Vietnam, going live in the coming months,” said the report.

India is set to witness the much-awaited 5G auction at the end of this month.

Mobile technologies and services continue to make a significant contribution to Asia Pacific’s economy, generating 5 per cent of GDP in the region in 2021, which equates to around $770 billion of economic value.

This ecosystem supported approximately 8.8 million jobs in 2021 and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with around $80 billion raised through taxation, the report said.

“Policymakers and regulators can fuel growth and innovation by establishing a flexible forward-looking regulatory regime to support mobile network deployment and operations,” it added.



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