At the Mobile 360 Series – Digital Societies conference in Kuala Lumpur, the GSMA released the fourth edition of a key annual report, ‘Collaborative Platforms for Digital Societies in Asia Pacific’.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.
The report evaluates to what extent key markets in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are progressing to become integrated digital societies. It 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 pan 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. In most Asian countries, mobile handsets are the main device 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.
According to the GSMA’s recent Mobile Economy Report Asia Pacific edition 2019, Asia’s mobile operators are set to invest $370 billion building-out new 5G networks between 2018 and 2025. It is forecast that 5G will contribute almost $900 billion to the region’s economy over the next 15 years and 5G will account for 17 per cent of total regional connections. 5G has launched in several markets across Asia Pacific, with national commercial networks now live in South Korea and Australia, and emerging in the Philippines. The Digital Societies report forecasts that by 2025, 5G will account for 17% 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 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, 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, integrated regulation that is fit for purpose and standardising spectrum with neighbouring countries. Without working together and the establishment of collaborative platforms to enable services and expansion of the user-base, 5G will not be fully realised in the region.
The GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Digital Societies conference in Kuala Lumpur takes place from 24-26 September 2019. The event was graced by YB Gobind Singh Deo, Malaysia’s Minister of Communication and Multimedia, who delivered the keynote address on Forging Digital Societies through Digital Platforms. Top industry leaders also shared their organisation’s position on the topic, including Tony Fernandes from AirAsia Group, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya from Axiata, Albern Murty from Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Louise Easterbrook from GSMA, Gokhan Ogut from Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd, Wing K. Lee from YTL Communications.[Download PDF]– Collaborative Platforms for Digital Societies in Asia Pacific Report