Mobile Sector Adds $5.2 Trillion to Global Economy
Mobile technologies and services generated 5% of global GDP, a contribution that amounted to $5.2 trillion of economic value added. The greatest benefits came from productivity effects, which reached $3.5 trillion, followed by mobile operators, which generated $650 billion.
In its latest report entitled “The Mobile Economy Report” which was released on Monday, The Global System for Mobile telecommunications Association (GSMA) said that the mobile sector also made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with around $530 billion raised through taxes on the sector.
The biggest driver was services VAT, sales taxes, and excise duties, which generated $210 billion, followed by employment taxes and social security, which generated $160 billion.
The GSMA, which represents the interest of over 400 operators across the world, added that mobile operators and the wider mobile ecosystem provided direct employment to around 16 million people globally. In addition, it said the economic activity in the ecosystem generated 12 million jobs in other sectors, meaning that around 28 million jobs were directly or indirectly supported.
Toeing the growth trajectory, GSMA believes by 2025, mobile’s contribution will reach $5.6 trillion and by 2030 will exceed $6 trillion as countries around the world increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.
Impact on SDGs
Regarding the mobile industry’s impact on the Sustainable Development Goals, GSMA noted that in 2016, the mobile industry became the first sector to commit to the 17 UN SDGs. It noted that each year since then, the GSMA has measured the impact of the mobile industry across all SDGs.
The telecoms body said the most recent analysis showed that the mobile industry increased its impact on all SDGs in 2021, with the average year on-year increase accelerating compared with 2020, adding that the average SDG impact score across the 17 SDGs reached 53 (meaning the mobile industry is achieving 53 per cent of what it could potentially contribute to the SDGs), up from 49 in 2020 and 32 in 2015.
According to the GSMA, there are now 11 SDGs where mobile’s contribution is over 50, compared to six SDGs in 2020 and none in 2015. It said the mobile industry continues to achieve its highest impact on SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, driven by the reach of mobile networks and take-up of mobile Internet services.
GSMA also noted that the biggest improvements were recorded in the industry’s contribution to SDG 1: No Poverty; SDG 2: Zero Hunger and SDG 4: Quality Education. It said this was due to the increasing proportion of people using mobile for activities such as accessing government services, applying, and searching for jobs, and obtaining educational information for themselves or their children.
The report also noted that there was also an improvement in the affordability of mobile data and devices. This comes after affordability worsened in 2020 because of the decline in per capita income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GSMA report added.