Mobile access can bring 36 percent economic growth in developing world

Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs study, done in conjunction with
the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council, shows an increase in mobile
access in developing economies can incrementally accelerate economic impact by
36 percent measured in GDP.


Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm today released a
white paper
developed with support of the World Economic Forum’s Telecommunications
Industry Global Agenda Council entitled Putting Broadband in the Palms of
People’s Hands: A Model to Drive Faster Economic and Social Growth.”  The
paper describes the impact of widespread access to mobile communications on
economic and social growth in developing economies.


To create the paper, teams of experts from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs and the
World Economic Forum’s Telecommunications Industry Global Agenda Council
conducted in-depth studies of the mobile landscape in emerging markets, in
particular Bangladesh, Kenya and Venezuela. 


Research by Bell Labs has revealed that the potential
exists to grow the benefits even more quickly both in GDP and HDI (Human
Development Index – a measure of quality of life based on life expectancy,
education and standard of living).  According to a model developed by Bell
Labs, the right combination of actions and investment can accelerate the
economic impact of broad access to mobile communications services by as much as
36 percent, measured in GDP.


With current traffic and technology adoption patterns,
many urban networks will be soon stretched beyond capacity, with a knock-on
effect on the availability of access in rural areas.  To achieve ubiquity
quickly, new business and technology models need to be developed to enable
access at affordable costs and with environmentally responsible
technologies.  The environmental issues of increasing mobile penetration,
especially in areas without access to reliable grid power sources, must also be
addressed, through more efficient power generation and mobile technologies.


One of the most telling aspects of the study is how
applications can accelerate economic and social growth. A range of applications
relevant to the target audience will increase the desirability of mobile

Affordability is a key requirement to ensure access to
mobile solutions.  The study suggests that the total cost of mobile
communication should be less than 5 percent of household budgets, to become a
realistic option for many in low- and middle-income countries.  Phone and
content creators, wealthier consumers who upgrade their handsets regularly and
government agencies can all play a part in getting affordable hardware and
connectivity into the hands of the poor.

Mobility is about so much more than mobile
phones.  It gives people access to services, information and markets that
were previously unavailable to them.  In short, it’s about inclusion and
giving people the ability to do more. Today we have a huge opportunity to
create a framework for sustainable and reliable socioeconomic growth that will
improve the people’s lives, no matter where they live,” said Rajeev
Singh-Molares, president, Asia Pacific, Alcatel-Lucent, and vice-chairman of
the WEF GAC working group that conducted the study.

By Team

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