GSMA Launches New Tool to Measure Conditions for Delivering Mobile Internet Connectivity Worldwide

GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index Supports Industry Efforts to Deliver
Universal Access to the Internet

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The GSMA has launched a new online tool that measures the ability of
more than 130 countries worldwide to connect offline citizens to the
mobile internet. The GSMA
Mobile Connectivity Index
measures each country on the four key
enablers for driving mobile internet adoption: infrastructure;
affordability; consumer readiness; and content. The tool aggregates
best-in-class data from multiple sources1 and is designed to
support the efforts of the mobile industry and the wider international
community to deliver on the ambition of universal access to the internet.

“Already more than 3 billion people worldwide are accessing the internet
via mobile, but this still leaves more than 4 billion people offline and
excluded from the powerful opportunities for social and economic
development that the mobile internet enables,” said Mats Granryd,
Director General of the GSMA. “Mobile is the primary enabler of
connectivity in developing world markets where the high cost of
deploying fixed-line networks means that internet penetration is low”.

“Connectivity to the mobile internet is also an important foundation
upon which the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals2 depend for
their delivery, providing a platform for reducing poverty and improving
healthcare, education, commerce, information sharing, employment and
innovation.” he added. “The launch of the GSMA’s Mobile Connectivity
Index will provide valuable insights that will inform projects designed
to support the ambition of universal access to the internet”

According to GSMA Intelligence, there were approximately 3.2 billion
people accessing the mobile internet at the end of 2015, representing
about 44 per cent of the global population. Among these users, about a
third were accessing the internet using 2G networks and two-thirds were
using mobile broadband (3G/4G).

This leaves approximately 4.16 billion people, about 56 per cent of the
global population, still not on the mobile internet. Among this segment,
2.5 billion people (34 per cent of the global population) live within
the footprint of a mobile broadband network but do not access services,
while approximately 1.6 billion (22 per cent) live outside of a mobile
broadband network footprint.

Measuring Enablers Using the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index

The GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index is an analytical tool that measures
the performance of 134 countries, representing more than 95 per cent of
the world’s population, against the four key enablers that are essential
to driving mobile internet adoption:

  • Infrastructure – the availability and quality of high
    performance mobile internet network coverage. Without network
    coverage, people cannot get online, and without high-performing
    networks it is more difficult to access the full potential of the
  • Affordability – the availability of mobile services and devices
    at price points that reflect the level of income across a national
    population. Aside from prices and incomes, affordability is also
    affected by the level of taxation, as well as inequality – if income
    distribution is skewed towards a small proportion of the population,
    the mobile internet will remain unaffordable for many people.
  • Consumer Readiness – citizens with the awareness and skills
    needed to value and use the internet. Without the necessary skills and
    supporting cultural environment, individuals may not understand how to
    use the mobile internet or appreciate how it can benefit them. Some
    individuals, especially women, might also find themselves prevented
    from accessing the mobile internet in some countries.
  • Content – the availability of online content and services that
    are accessible and relevant to the local population. Consumers are
    less likely to connect to the mobile internet unless there is online
    content and services that are relevant and would be of benefit to
    them. This might be as simple as having content in their native
    language or it might be the availability of certain apps or services
    such as social media, banking or education.

Scores for each of these four key enablers are available for each
country and combined to produce a single composite measure for a given
country, reflecting the strength of the foundations to support
widespread adoption of the mobile internet. The scores will be updated
on an annual basis.

The Mobile Connectivity Index is accessible through a freely available
web-based interface that allows users to explore in detail the
performance of individual countries, compare countries against each
other, and investigate the different dimensions and indicators that feed
into each of the enablers. The tool can be found at

A launch report providing further information on the tool can be
accessed at:

The Mobile Connectivity Index is produced by the GSMA’s Connected
Society programme
, which works with the mobile industry and key
stakeholders to improve digital inclusion, in collaboration with GSMA
, the research arm of the GSMA.


About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting
nearly 800 operators with almost 300 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 GSMA also produces industry-leading
events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and
the Mobile 360 Series conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at
Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

1 The following list of partners have provided data to
construct the Mobile Connectivity Index.

  • App Annie
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Ethnologue
  • Facebook (Audience Insights)
  • GSMA Intelligence
  • International Labour Organisation
  • International Telecommunications Union
  • Measurement Lab (M-Lab)
  • OpenSignal
  • TLDLogic/ZookNIC
  • United Nations
  • Wikipedia Statistics
  • World Bank

2 In September 2015, the UN introduced a set of 17
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development. The 17-point plan aims to end poverty, combat
climate change and fight injustice and inequality. The GSMA is
supporting the SDGs as part of its #betterfuture campaign.


Charlie Meredith-Hardy
+44 7917 298428
Press Office