Accelerating mobile internet adoption: Policy considerations to bridge the digital divide in low- and middle-income countries

GSMA published a report that addresses the need to accelerate mobile internet adoption and use being the utmost challenge to overcome the digital divide. The report outlines an array of policy considerations and offers a comprehensive framework for action to address in a holistic and collaborative manner the five main barriers to mobile internet adoption in low- and middle-income countries: affordability, knowledge and digital skills, relevance, safety and security, and access. This includes:

  • Improving affordability of internet-enabled handsets and data services
  • Increasing awareness and understanding of mobile internet and its benefits, and developing digital skills strategies that help people meet their life goals and needs
  • Supporting the expansion of local digital ecosystems with relevant content and services
  • Addressing safety and security concerns
  • Expanding access to networks and enablers (e.g. electricity, training and sales facilities, formal IDs) while improving the usability of handsets, content, and services

The framework proposed by the report underscores the significance of evidence-based policies that are tailored to local contexts, developed in close collaboration with a broad set of stakeholders, and regularly evaluated to guide further action to bridge the digital divide.