Data collected by Ericsson in 2016 suggests that increasing mobile broadband penetration by 10% can increase a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.6 – 2.8%.

These findings were presented in a paper titled “How important are mobile broadband networks for global economic development?” which examined data collected from 135 countries.

For the purposes of the study mobile broadband is defined as a SIM card registered on a mobile network with a minimum download speed of 256kbps.

The paper takes into account that mobile broadband can be considered a driver and result of GDP growth, but the researchers still found that increased access to mobile broadband drives GDP development.

“Many countries in the developing world have used mobile broadband technology to leapfrog in their economic development in the past 10–15 years,” master researcher in Macroeconomics at Ericsson Research, Harald Edquist said in a statement.

Real vs projected mobile broadband penetration in African countries.

“I believe that if these countries, and others, continue to invest wisely in mobile broadband, they will have an excellent opportunity to continue to reap the benefits of continuous productivity improvements and new economic opportunities that simply would not be possible without mobile broadband,” added Edquist.

It is worth pointing out that the increase in GDP depends wholly on how it is rolled out. You can find the full study for free on the Imperial College London’s official website.

This information is especially notable here in Africa where mobile broadband coverage only serves 50% of the population. A GSMA study citied by Ericsson suggests that has many as 600 million Africans don’t have access to the internet.


[Image – CC BY 2.0 Junpei Abe]