GSMA announces global effort to improve smartphone access

The primary goal is to reduce barriers to entering the digital economy, addressing the significant issue of handset affordability, which prevents many from going online.

Smartphones, World, GSMA, mobile internet, smartphone access

The GSMA has announced the formation of a global coalition to make smartphones more accessible and affordable for some of the world’s poorest populations. The coalition will include mobile operators, vendors, and significant institutions such as the World Bank Group, the United Nations’ ITU agency, and the WEF Edison Alliance.

The group aims to reduce the barriers to entering the digital economy for low-income populations, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The GSMA highlighted that handset affordability is the most significant obstacle preventing people from going online.

In many low and middle-income countries, mobile phones are often the only means of accessing the internet. Currently, 38% of the global population cannot use mobile internet due to high costs and lack of skills. The coalition will work together to improve access to affordable internet-enabled devices, aiming to close the ‘Usage Gap’ that hinders around three billion people from fully participating in the global digital economy.