As developed markets start becoming increasing saturated, new opportunities are rising from developing areas like India where over half a billion unique mobile subscribers are predicted to come from the region over the next 4 years.
India is a fascinating market with high competition, convoluted regulation and huge inequalities between urban and rural communities. But despite this, there is a real collaborative spirit from the operators in wanting to position mobile as a tool for driving socio-economic change. If you’ve not read it already, Mobile Economy Report: India 2015 outlines a number of great case studies on this.
With our commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), socio-economic development has been placed firmly at the heart of the GSMA, resulting in new projects and partnerships from across the industry. Whilst each of the 17 SDGs is seemingly ambitious and all-encompassing, our Mobile for Development team have led key projects in developing markets such as India, where the success of delivering Mobile Connect has shown the industry what can be achieved when operators work together on a collective cause.
Our Connected Women programme is another great example – the programme estimates that there are 200 million fewer women than men who own a mobile phone in low and middle-income countries. Gender gaps are even more extensive in mobile internet and mobile money services, where women are prevented from experiencing the full benefits of mobile phone ownership. At the time of writing 8 operators have committed to the connected women initiative, further highlighting the success of taking a collaborative approach in developing markets and further cementing mobile’s crucial role in tackling the SDGs.
It would be remiss not to look at the wider industry too and highlight a recent announcement from Bill & Melinda Gates foundation who are committing $80 million into improving data collection required to understand the size of social and economic problems. The unreliability of data has been a huge challenge but through new commitments and partnerships across industries, this can finally be addressed.
Collaboration has already brought huge benefits to developing markets and as more people become connected, we need to continue prioritising the delivery of the SDGs to ensure no one is left behind.