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Mobile Connectivity Index, the GSMA report cards

The GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index, thanks to an in-depth analysis, describes in detail the situation regarding mobiles around the world. Africa proves to be the continent with the most difficulties in achieving good levels of access, despite the amount of progress made. 

Mobiles as a catalyst for development

The Mobile Connectivity index, published by GSMA, is a report that measures the level of development of mobile connections in 134 countries. A ranking drawn up taking into account a number of factors that can affect the connectivity of a country. The report is based on the belief that the Internet is a powerful tool in the fight against social and economic inequalities and, at the same time, that mobile devices are now more or less the main source of access to the net. Greater mobile development, therefore, means greater spread of the Internet and, as a result, improvements in the living conditions of citizens. There is still a long road ahead when you consider that, to date, there are still 4 billion people not connected.

How does the Mobile Connectivity Index work?

The analytical work at the basis of the Mobile Connectivity Index begins from the identification of 4 key elements affecting mobile development: infrastructure, cost of connections and online services, level of digitalisation of citizens and availability of interesting content on the web. Within these broad areas 13 elements are then focused on to be analysed (with different weightings) and 138 indicators that make them measurable. This brings us to a final overall score that determines the ranking.

The difficulties in Africa

The “mobile nation” of 2016 proved to be Australia (84.7), with the level of digitalisation of its citizens being exceptionally high. Completing the podium are the Netherlands (84.4) and Denmark (83.9). Overall, the continent with the greatest difficulties is Africa. To date, only 24% of the African population is connected, 20% is covered by a 3G network but does not have access to the Internet and 57% has no coverage whatsoever. It is no coincidence, then, that the 25 countries at the bottom of the ranking are mainly those from sub-Saharan Africa, with Niger last (15.1).

Libya, where the Internet continues to grow

Despite the ongoing bloody conflict, Libya does not seem to have stalled in its slow but steady path towards the dissemination of connectivity. According to estimates made by Internet Live Stats, based on data from the International Telecommunications Union, at the end of 2016 the Internet penetration rate will reach 21.1%, with a growth of 10% over the previous year. A pace of development that is incomparable to what the country had before the war, but which is still very significant.

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Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, the network’s 2020 horizons

The Visual Networking Index from Cisco (business partner of VueTel Italia) is one of the richest and most authoritative international  publications in the field of connectivity development. The 2016 edition sets out the details placing 2020 as the horizon. The overall result shows a world in which the Internet will have become increasingly relevant, driven in particular by the mobile sector and, more specifically, by the use of video contributions via smartphones. In this infographic VuBlog offers some of the key excerpts from the report, which detail this development trend.

Internet users:

Average annual growth of Internet traffic:

Average annual growth of data traffic from mobile phones:

Internet traffic from mobile phones: 6.9% of the total –> 18.9% of the total

Average monthly traffic from mobile phones per capita –>

Video traffic: 63% of the total –> 79% of the total

Connected devices per capita:

Average connection speed:

Vodafone recounts the mobile revolution

Vodafone has set up a multimedia studio with the aim of recounting and illustrating the story of the “ mobile revolution ”, the relationship between access to the network and the fight against social inequality. Smartphones, in the hands of the world’s most vulnerable populations, can be an extraordinary tool for social and economic emancipation.

The mobile revolution according to Vodafone

Vodafone has also had its say on the widely discussed issue of the relationship between access to the network and the fight against socio-economic inequality. And it does so thanks to a study carried out by seven international experts on the subject. The result is a detailed, graphic-rich, multimedia report, supported by video contributions (in the online version), which recounts how and to what extent the spread of the Internet on mobile devices can ensure that the most vulnerable populations have the opportunity for freedom and development. At the same time, the Company is concerned about showing public institutions and private investors how to implement a series of good practices that may provide momentum for this process.

The report consists of four chapters. The first is dedicated to an overview of the topic and the subsequent three chapters are, likewise, focused on more detailed insights (gender inequality, micro entrepreneurship, small farm holdings).

Mobiles and development

Since 1980 disparities in income and access to services have increased exponentially as a result of globalisation processes. Yet today globalisation, in its clearest expression, i.e. the Internet, may be the solution to the problem. Access to the network means, first and foremost, access to information and therefore to knowledge and education. The network also allows infrastructural barriers, often the primary cause of the denial of rights (e.g. E-learning projects and distance learning), to be overcome. The important thing, according to Vodafone, is that those public and private entities accountable continue to invest intensively in this direction.

Africa works to extend connectivity

Taking the Internet to the areas of the planet that do not yet have connectivity is the challenge of the future, especially for Africa. Being successful means guaranteeing rights and services to millions of people and unlocking a market that is potentially very lucrative. VuBlog offers a brief summary on the topic, between statistical analysis and news of new projects.

The Internet struggles even in the city

In Africa, it is not only the rural areas that have a connectivity deficit. Even in the city, service is far from the optimum standard. A study promoted by the Worldwide Broadband Alliance, and published by The Economic Times, shows how 82% of all African citizens do not have access to the Internet, as opposed to a global average of about 50%.

Satcoms for e-learning in South Africa

Guaranteeing the right to an education in rural areas of Africa is often quite difficult. The distances and the lack of road infrastructures make it impossible for thousands of young people to reach the schools. New technologies can help to combat this gap, thanks to the use of e-learning platforms. An example of this is the Satcoms project in South Africa, illustrated by an article at Phys.org.

Expanding the mobile network, lowering costs

To continue growing in Africa, mobile telecommunications providers need to reach people who have no connection today. Large investments are needed to do this. However, in Rwanda, the Vanu company has designed a system that allows maximum connectivity to be achieved, while lowering the costs. The founder, Vanu Bose, talks about it in an interview granted to All Africa.

Microsoft in support of small startups

Many giants in the hi-tech sector have chosen to invest significant amounts in projects to increase connectivity in rural African areas. One of these is Microsoft which has, however, as an article in Financial Express explains, chosen a different approach – not large amounts poured into large-scale operations, but a capillary support for small startups and local initiatives.

Rwanda, a network under construction

The Internet coverage numbers in Rwanda portray a country where there is still a large portion of the population that is not connected. The individuals with access to the net still only constitute 10.6% of the population and mobile broadband subscriptions account for just over 11%. Not to mention landline broadband, which barely reaches 0.1%. And yet, according to the calculations of the Alliance for Affordable Internet, which monitors the economic accessibility and infrastructural level of the net in 51 countries, the country is on the right path and the situation could increase significantly in coming years.

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Women and mobiles – gender equality is still a long way off

The technological gender gap is holding back personal and social development. Having scrutinised the issue in a previous article, VuBlog has an infographic with data on the phenomenon published by  GSMA, the global association of mobile operators. Compared to men, the number of women who don’t have access to a mobile device account for 200 million less (14%).  The gap is wide, especially in the least-developed and developing countries. Yet, for the telecommunication companies, being able to bridge this gap would represent an important business opportunity, which experts say would be worth 170 billion dollars

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The technological gender gap is holding back development

The gender gap between men and women is still wide when it comes to the use of mobile technology and Internet access, especially in the least-developed or developing countries. A report from GSMA depicts a status quo which has strong socio-economic repercussions, in terms of human rights, employment opportunities, learning and education. Two projects in Kenya and Myanmar are attempting to remedy this disparity.

The technological gender gap

There are still approximately 1.7 billion women across the world who have no access to mobile services and devices. The technological gender gap is a distinct reality, especially in the least-developed or developing countries. A study carried out by GSMA, the global association of mobile operators also attests to this fact. Compared with men, the number of women who own a mobile phone accounts for 200 million less, or 14%. This translates into fewer opportunities to access important development tools, and turns the digital gap into a socio-economic gap. Mobile phone use would, in fact, ensure women’s empowerment, through access to more information and more opportunities for growth and employment. But the barriers hindering this access – economic, cultural and social – are still to numerous and too strong

Experiments in Kenya and Myanmar

Bridging the gender gap requires long-term intensive efforts. Several countries are now taking action with public projects or private initiatives. Two concrete examples can be found in Kenya and Myanmar

The Kenyan project is sponsored by Intel Corporation in cooperation with the NGO Joyful Women Organization. This initiative is providing a digital literacy programme that aims to train 1 million women in Kenya in the use of new technologies by 2020. The Myanmar Government has also launched a similar initiative,  Tech Age Girls Myanmar, to facilitate access for young women to the Internet and social networks, intended as tools to develop their skills and vehicles for culture and information.

Nigeria is booming with Facebook users

Nigeria is the most social African country, at least when you look at the use of Facebook. Recent data reveals that there are 16 million Nigerians who use the popular social network at least once a month. 7.2 million of those users, however, connect on a daily basis. This is mainly vehicular use from mobile devices (97%) where posting and sharing video content, is prominent with 52% of users. This statistic is an interesting piece of news for companies who choose to advertise their products on social networks.  78% of Nigerians with a presence on Facebook, in fact, state that they use their mobile device to find out about new products and services.

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