Pacific Islands on the Cusp of Digital Revolution: GSMA Report

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The GSMA presented ‘The Mobile Economy Pacific Islands 2019’ report, at the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA) 23rd AGM and annual conference.

In the report the GSMA highlighted the region’s potential and outlined that the Pacific Islands are about to embark on a digital revolution with the support of mobile technology. Additionally the findings showed that this revolution could only be realised through collaboration between governments and the mobile ecosystem.

“This is an exciting time for the Pacific Islands as it stands on the cusp of a digital revolution and mobile technology will play a pivotal role in this transformation, providing access to life-enhancing services such as health and education and acting as a catalyst for innovation and economic growth,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “To ensure affordable, high-quality mobile services, collaboration across the mobile ecosystem, is key to unlocking the full potential of mobile and to connect everyone and everything to a better future.”

Report Findings:

Mobile helping to boost financial inclusion: The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) was launched in 2008 and has funded 44 projects with financial service providers helping more than 2 million Pacific Islanders access formal financial services;

The ongoing shift to mobile broadband and digital transformation: at the end of 2018 mobile internet penetration in the region was the lowest of any region in the world at 18 per cent. However, 4G connections in the Pacific Islands are set to account for more than half of total connections by 2023, doubling the figure from the end of 2018 and increasing access to services;

Infrastructure challenges: Many countries in the Pacific Islands region face issues around insufficient infrastructure. Several countries are yet to complete the digital switchover process, including Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Solomon Islands; and
Unlocking the full potential of mobile: The upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference will be one of the best opportunities for governments and industry to identify a significant amount of harmonized millimetre wave spectrum, which will result in massive economies of scale for 5G in the future.

To unlock the full potential of existing and future mobile networks, access to sufficient spectrum for better coverage and capacity is a necessity. In addition to its huge economic benefits, 5G will also bring breakthroughs in the provision of many other services. The mobile industry needs harmonised spectrum for 4G and 5G to become a global reality for everyone including those who live and work in the Pacific Islands.


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