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Mobile Operators and Networks

The Mobile Economy 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the health and livelihoods of individuals and communities around the world. Mobile has been particularly instrumental during this period, keeping people connected and underpinning new services in response to the pandemic. This includes enabling people to work and learn remotely, supporting innovative health solutions and providing a platform for people to access digital financial services.

By the end of 2020, 5.2 billion people subscribed to mobile services. There will be nearly half a billion new subscribers by 2025, most of which will come from Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2020, mobile technologies and services generated $4.4 trillion of economic value added globally. This figure will grow by $480 billion by 2025 to nearly $5 trillion as countries increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services. 5G is also expected to benefit all economic sectors of the global economy during this period.

The launch of commercial 5G services in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa over the last year means that the technology is now available in every region of the world. The pandemic has had little impact on 5G momentum; in some instances, it has even resulted in operators speeding up their network rollouts, with governments and operators looking to boost capacity at a time of increased demand. By the end of 2025, 5G will account for just over a fifth of total mobile connections. Meanwhile, 4G still has significant headroom for growth, especially in developing regions. Adoption of the technology is expected to peak at just under 60% by 2023 as 5G begins to gain traction in new markets.

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