GSMA urges collaboration to boost 5G in APAC

GSMA urges collaboration to boost 5G in APAC

At the Mobile 360 Series – Digital Societies conference in Kuala Lumpur the GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has launched the fourth edition of what it calls a key annual report on the region.

Collaborative Platforms for Digital Societies in Asia Pacific assesses the digital maturity of 11 regional markets based on their digital platforms and the other components that create a digital society, including identity, citizenship, lifestyle and commerce, and connectivity.

The report examines collaborative platforms within the mobile ecosystem, across vertical industry segments, within national governments and across the region, that will accelerate citizen uptake of digital services. It also aims to encourage industry and government to undertake activity that advances digital societies in the APAC region, while supporting equitable, sustained and broad-based economic growth.

The GSMA report updates the digital society index of eight previously reviewed Asia Pacific countries – Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Thailand – and three newly added countries – India, South Korea and Vietnam. Connectivity is key, and the availability of high-speed, mobile network coverage is fundamental to developing a digital society, says the GSMA. In most Asian countries, mobile handsets are the main devices used to access the internet. According to the report, all countries have continued to democratise access to public services as 3G and 4G population coverage increases. Advances have been most noticeable in India, Pakistan and Indonesia. Pakistan and India had the highest increases in connectivity in 2018.

The Digital Societies report forecasts that by 2025, 5G will account for 17 per cent of total regional connections, at which point all 11 focus countries of this report are forecast to have launched 5G services if industry and governments work together.

The report also explores how, as countries across the Asia Pacific region launch 5G, governments and industry players have a critical role to play to ensure an inclusive digital future. Mobile operators need to engage with the broader ecosystem, the GSMA suggests, especially in helping innovative start-ups reach scale, while governments must seek to create an enabling environment for such collaboration, fostering a digital society through tax policy and integrated regulation that is fit for purpose and standardising spectrum with neighbouring countries.

The announcement of the new report ends with a stern warning: without working together and the establishment of collaborative platforms to enable services and expansion of the user base, the GSMA says, 5G will not be fully realised in the region. 

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