Home Telecoms & Mobile UN and Vodafone to Connect Billions with Smartphones by 2030

UN and Vodafone to Connect Billions with Smartphones by 2030

by Susubiribi
UN & Vodafone to Connect Billions with Smartphones by 2030

Vodafone Group Plc and ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, announced a new initiative yesterday to connect billions with smartphones by 2030. This is to address the global digital divide, with the goal of enabling an additional 3.4 billion people to access and use the internet through a smartphone in 9 years’ time.

3.4 billion individuals reside within the mobile network range but do not have access to the internet, largely due to a lack of smartphone ownership, of the 3.7 billion people who are not connected to the internet.

The mobile usage gap is 6x higher than the mobile coverage gap, with mobile broadband (4G) networks currently covering 82 percent of the population of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). The new Working Group will identify legislative, commercial, and circular-economy actions to boost smartphone access, in line with the Broadband Commission’s Global Targets 2025 on affordability and connectivity.

Launch Partners

The Alliance for Affordable Internet, GSMA, the government of Ghana, Safaricom, Smart Africa, Vodacom Group, and the World Wide Web Foundation are among the group’s launch partners, which are co-chaired by Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read and ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. They are all poised to connect billions with Smartphones by 2030.

Shameel Joosub
CEO of Vodacom Group Shameel Joosub

In an effort to connect billions with Smartphones by 2030, the CEO of Vodacom Group Shameel Joosub said: “We recognize the numerous socioeconomic complications and dynamics that continue to obstruct universal internet access in modern society, which should be a right rather than a privilege.

The announcement by the United Nations, Vodafone Group Plc, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to expand smartphone access to 3.4 billion people throughout the world is timely and significant. Vodacom is working to connect the next 100 million Africans via its Africa network. We look forward to supporting Vodafone’s mission to ensuring that no one is left out of the global digital economy and that everyone has access to education, jobs, public, and financial services through the Connected campaign.”

Widening digital divide, necessity to connect Billions with smartphones by 2030

As a result, the digital divide is widening as the global pandemic has hastened the emergence of digital societies, and smartphones are becoming an increasingly important gateway to public services, such as education and medical assistance, as well as financial services, jobs, and business operations.

Ursula Owusu Ekuful Ghanas Minister for Communications and Digitalisation
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister for Communications and Digitalisation

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said: “Vodafone is proud to be a part of this historic UN-led global project to enhance the lives of billions of people around the world through smartphone access. This is a difficult problem that no single network operator, device maker, financial services provider, or national government can handle alone – but by working together, we can overcome the obstacles.”

The ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, added: “A multi-stakeholder approach is required to meet the Broadband Commission’s Global Targets. I’m excited to co-chair this newly formed Working Group, which will help solve the issues posed by the COVID-19 epidemic and ensuring that those who are left behind have access to smart devices.”

You Might Be Interested In

“While Ghana and other countries have made great strides in the development of mobile infrastructure and the use of digital services such as mobile money, it is noticeable that 45 percent of people in West Africa are covered by mobile broadband networks but do not use the internet,” said Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister for Communications and Digitalisation.

A report and set of concrete recommendations will be produced by the Broadband Commission Working Group, which will include:

  • First-of-its-kind research and data on the smartphone access gap;
  • calculating the social and economic implications of delivering smartphone access to everyone by 2030, including evaluating the transition from 2G feature phones to 4G smartphones; and
  • a review of projects or pilots aimed at increasing smartphone usage. As part of this approach, Vodafone Group has committed to launching two pilot initiatives on device affordability.

Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom have released the second ‘Africa. Connected’ report on expediting 4G for Sub-Saharan Africa to coincide with the formation of the new Working Group.

Conclusion to Connect Billions with Smartphones by 2030

Our understanding from the foregoing is that the new Working Group will identify legislative, commercial, and circular-economy actions to boost smartphone access. The Alliance for Affordable Internet, GSMA, the government of Ghana, Safaricom, Smart Africa, Vodacom Group, and the World Wide Web Foundation are among the group’s launch partners.

The mobile usage gap is 6x higher than the mobile coverage gap, with mobile broadband (4G) networks currently covering 82 percent of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), hence the need to connect 3.4 Billion with smartphones by 2030. Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said: “Vodafone is proud to be a part of this historic UN-led global project to enhance the lives of billions of people around the world through smartphone access.

The Broadband Commission Working Group will examine the social and economic implications of delivering smartphone access to everyone by 2030. 45 percent of people in West Africa are covered by mobile broadband networks but do not use the internet, according to the minister for communications and digitalisation. As part of this approach, Vodafone Group has committed to launching two pilot initiatives on device affordability.

You Might Be Interested In

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More...

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest technology news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!