The Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA) said the mobile ecosystem generated 4.2 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, a contribution of more than $3.1 trillion of added economic value.
It said digitalisation enables businesses to operate more efficiently and access new markets and customers. Digital technologies can better connect government with its citizens and have a major impact on day-to-day life, from shopping and banking to entertainment and connecting with friends and family.
The GSMA research report, titled: “Embracing the Digital Revolution: Policies for Building the Digital Economy”, developed in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), urged policymakers to encourage digital advancement and prepare for the changes that lay ahead, while highlighting the risk of inaction.
The report estimated that digital technologies will influence up to 45 per cent of all retail sales by 2025.
The benefit consumers receive from mobile technologies can be quantified, using the economic concept of consumer surplus, which is the value that consumers receive, over and above what they pay for devices, apps, services and internet access.
The BCG research in six countries (Brazil, China, Germany, India, South Korea and the United States) showed that mobile technologies have created $6.4 trillion of annual consumer surplus, which is more than the individual GDP of every country in the world, with the exception of China and the United States (U.S.).
The new report, therefore, encouraged governments to pursue policies that incentivise investment and promote development of digital economies, building an inclusive digital future for their citizens.
Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. John Giusti, said: “Digital and mobile technology have delivered far-reaching social and economic benefits at both the global and national levels. As the digital and mobile revolution continues to accelerate, new technologies-artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT)-promise great benefits, but also continued disruption, resulting from the digitalisation of many industry sectors.
“Forward-looking policies can enable citizens, businesses, societies and countries to prosper, improving lives and livelihoods, while mitigating the possible adverse effects that can accompany economic change.”
Despite the many benefits of digitalisation, the pace of change creates the possibility of a gulf between those who are digitally connected and those who are not. Governments have an important role to play in creating a policy environment that allows for an inclusive digital society where the few feel threatened or left behind.
The report encouraged policymakers to be the architects of change by using the policy to drive change and transform their economies for the benefit of all citizens. Policymakers have the power to create the best possible outcomes for the technological future in their country, whatever the level of socio-economic development, if a number of key factors are put in place.
The factors include high-speed, reliable and robust digital infrastructure, digitally willing and capable people (citizens, consumers and employees), digitally competent and engaged businesses, trusted environment for digital interactions, and a government that sets an enabling policy framework and leads by example
“Governments have a critical role to play in creating an inclusive digital future by establishing a policy framework that incentivises network investment, by ensuring laws and regulations reflect the realities of today’s digital world and by promoting digitalisation across the economy and society,” Giusti said.