Mobile contributes $3.1 TRN to global economy – billion more users in 2016


Figure accounted for around 4.2 per cent of world GDP. Individual user numbers set to reach 5.7 billion by the end of the year. GSMA wants more females connected.

The mobile industry contributed more than $3.2 trillion dollars to the world economy last year, accounting for more than 4.2 per cent of global GDP.

The figure, revealed by the GSMA director general of the GSMA Mats Granryd, is is a rise from an estimated $3 trillion in 2014, although estimated GDP remained the same.

Granryd, making his debut at the event, added also that the industry as a whole has contributed more than $430 billion over the past 12 months into public funding – excluding investments in 4G spectrum auctions Capital expenditure for 2016 is expected to be close to $1 billion. Staff numbers directly employed in the mobile industry are also set to top 15 billion, up from 13 today, by 2020.



“These are some amazing numbers,” said Granryd. “Mobile networks provide life changing solutions to billions of people across the planet. Mobile operators are driving social and financial and digital inclusion. Our industry is truly strengthening the worlds economy, both locally and internationally.”

Connections to rise by 1bn

The rise has been credited to, in part, the continued rise in connections, both in individual people and IOT.

According to GSMA figures there are now an estimated 4.7 billion connected individuals (not total connections, which stands at 7.3 billion) on the planet today, accounting for around two thirds of the global population. That a rise of almost one billion in the past 12 months – with another billion expected to be added by the end of this year topping 5.6 billion. Numbers were originally expected to top 4.6 billion by 2020, but this may be revised due to the substantial rise.

The GSMA also revealed that of those customers, 3.2 billion people connected to the internet using a mobile device, a figure again set to rocket by another billion over the next 12 months.


Developing world and gender issues

However, Granryd said its figures show around 40 per cent of people living in developing countries who still do not have access to the internet – something the industry must come together to help resolve.

“Why is that? It can be of course be that there’s no coverage where they live, or that owning and having a device is too costly, or there is simply a lack of local relevant content. We have needs to sort that.”

The GSMA is also aiming to resolve the gender gap when it comes to mobile phone users globally, claiming there are 200 million fewer women than men with a device. These will be achieved through continued innovation in products and services, such as Mobile Money (of which there 400 million users in 90 countries last year), ensuring people become part of the ‘Digital Society’.

“We have made great progress no doubt, but we are challenged. I can safely say what has brought us here is not going to keep us here. We do need to be more innovative, more collaborative and redouble our efforts. By dong that, I’m 100 per cent we will be able to connect everyone and everything to a better future.”