By Mats Granryd
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the true importance of robust and resilient mobile networks, to support society and industry. Over time and with both determination and conscience, the mobile industry has invested in the infrastructure and the networks that have allowed the world to rely on connectivity this year like never before.
The mobile industry has never been so important to the world’s citizens and economy, and its relevance will continue to grow. By the end of 2019, 5.2 billion people subscribed to mobile services, accounting for 67% of the global population, out of which 3.8 billion are mobile internet users. By 2025 an additional 1.2 billion people will start using mobile internet for the first time which will bring the total number of mobile internet subscribers globally to 5 billion (over 60% of the population)(i).
Our role at the GSMA is to unlock the power of connectivity so that people, industry and society thrive. Back in 2016, mobile became the world’s first industry to commit to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the importance of proactive multi-stakeholder collaboration continues. Collaboration is crucial for success in the digital transformation of society, and the mobile industry has a demonstrable track record of effective collaboration that has delivered positive change.
The GSMA‘s We Care initiative, which has been selected to be showcased in this year’s edition of the Paris Peace Forum, is a perfect example. It provides a multi-stakeholder platform where mobile operators join forces as an industry with policymakers to provide local solutions to a commonly identified challenge, with a positive impact on society.
We Care facilitates continued dialogue and collaboration between the public and the private sector at local level and contributes to strengthening trust in mobile services.
This has contributed to the effort put in place to respond to COVID-19, where a trusted relationship between the public sector and the mobile industry has been critical to fight the pandemic and to keep the economy and society functioning while social distancing is the norm.
Since its creation in 2014, 30 projects have been launched involving more than 70 mobile network operators and over 30 governmental institutions across 21 countries. So far, the initiative has addressed 8 different SDGs, including Reduced Inequalities, Partnerships for the Goals, Gender Equality and Climate Action.
The mobile industry has a responsibility to continue shaping and building change, and propelling digital advancement for a better future for all. The GSMA will continue to play a leading role in supporting and amplifying the vital work our industry is doing at this time.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Mats Granryd is Director General of the GSMA and a Member of its Board. In this role, he leads the GSMA in supporting its global membership through a range of industry programmes, advocacy initiatives and industry-convening events.
Mats is a strong proponent of sustainability and led the mobile industry in becoming the first sector to broadly commit to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2016. He is now spearheading initiatives to amplify and accelerate the mobile industry’s impact on all 17 of the SDGs, across both developed and developing markets.
Mats serves on the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, which is focused on leveraging ICT and broadband-based technologies for sustainable development.