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The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent economic turmoil, mobile internet connectivity continued to grow. For the first time, more than half of the world’s population – just over 4 billion people – are using mobile internet. In 2020, coverage continued to increase, with 94% of the population now covered by a mobile broadband network.

However, 43% of the world’s population is still not using mobile internet despite living within the footprint of a mobile broadband network. The unconnected disproportionately live in low- and middle-income countries and are more likely to be poorer, less educated, older, rural and women. While increasing mobile broadband coverage remains an important issue to address, reducing the usage gap is key to close the digital divide.

The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity report is the annual flagship publication of the Connected Society programme since 2018.  This report provides the mobile industry and other stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of the trends in global connectivity, as well as insights on key barriers to mobile internet adoption and use, to inform progress towards closing the coverage and usage gaps.

Further country-level data can be found in the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index, a tool that measures the performance of 170 countries, representing 99% of the global population, against the key enablers of mobile internet adoption: infrastructure; affordability; consumer readiness; and content and services. The Index was developed as part of the mobile industry’s commitment to drive mobile internet connectivity and accelerate digital inclusion.

GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.