GSMA wants another billion new unique users by 2020

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More than 400 million new mobile connections made last year to bring total to seven billion globally and if target is achieved, the number of people connecting to the web would reach 4.4 billion 

The GSMA has announced ambitious targets to connect an additional one billion people to the mobile internet by 2020.

The target was announced by GSMA chairman Jon Fredrik Baksaas (pictured) during the opening keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in front of more than 2,000 people.

If achieved, the number of people connecting to the web via mobile would reach more than 4.4 billion globally.

Baksaas revealed more than 400 million new mobile connections were made in 2014, bringing the number globally to around seven billion. On paper, this represents one SIM for each person on the planet.

However, only 170 million of the 400 million adds in 2013 were for new unique users, with the GSMA stating just half of the population currently has access to the mobile web.

GSMA director general Anne Bouverot, who joined Baksaas on stage, declared “most people” now have at least two SIMs (work/personal phone, tablet).

The GSMA said lowering costs on data and devices will play a key role in achieving this target – particularly in emerging markets.

Baksaas said: “We have a lot to do in this industry – but we have also done a lot. Right now we have close to seven billion connections, there are also seven billion people on the planet so you could say, the job is done.

“But it’s not that easy. Only half of that population has regular access to the mobile family (phones, broadband etc), the kind of connectivity you guys take for granted.

“There is a job to connect the remaining part of population of the planet, because the benefits of the mobile phone is going to reach everyone.

“Last year this industry connected 400 million new connections but only roughly 170 million of those were unique users. Our ambitious goals are to connect everyone.

From now until 2020, we should be able to reach another billion users.

“It’s very achievable. The key is to get there.”

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