a group of people using mobile phones.

The mobile economy has added US$1.5 trillion to Asia Pacific’s economy. Source: Shutterstock

How mobile added $1.5t to Asia Pacific’s economy

WE live in a world fuelled by telecommunications and media, and at the conjunction is the mobile phone. Penetration is skyrocketing across the world, and it is transforming how businesses across industries work.

According to a new report by the GSM Association (GSMA), the growth of the mobile economy in the Asia Pacific has given a fillip to the region’s businesses, it’s people, and the region as a whole.

Let’s consider employment, for example. According to figures put together by the GSMA, mobile operators and the wider ecosystem provided direct employment to almost 7 million people last year. In addition, economic activity in the ecosystem generated jobs in other sectors too.

The GSMA estimates that in 2017, 10.5 million additional jobs were indirectly supported. All in all, the mobile economy created more than 17 million jobs.

Mobile technology has enabled workers to improve their productivity and efficiency. According to GSMA estimations, the boost in productivity helped add an additional US$810 billion to the region’s economy in 2017.

An example of productivity-boosting technology is as basic as mobile voice and text services, which allow people to communicate more efficiently and effectively.

Modern updates such as 3G and 4G technology brought even more conveniences, enabling workers to use internet services on-the-go. Users have instant access to information and services, helping make business processes more efficient, especially in industries like finance and health.

As we move into industry 4.0, technologies like machine to machine (M2M) and internet of things (IoT) help improve industrial processes.

A connected web of devices provides businesses with insights, which drives cost savings and operational efficiency, especially in areas like manufacturing, logistics, and retail.

It goes without saying that the industry contributes to public sector funding via general taxation. That’s an additional US$170 billion to governments in 2017.

Considering all the different ways the ecosystem contributes to the economy, the numbers are expected to continue growing. GSMA predicts that overall, mobile will pour in US$ 1.8 trillion Asia Pacific’s economy by 2022.

For context, mobile fed US$1.5 trillion to the region’s economy in 2017, which is around 5.4 percent of GDP.

With the increase in adoption of M2M and IoT solutions, businesses will definitely see an improvement in productivity, which inevitably will drive economic growth.