All Latest thinking

Mobile broadband for the masses

February 2009

As the long-awaited promise of mobile broadband finally comes within reach, a new role for the technology is emerging that takes a step beyond company balance sheets and business strategies. Bringing broadband penetration levels in emerging markets to today's Western European levels could potentially add USD 300-420 billion in GDP and generate 10-14 million jobs. Mobile broadband is uniquely positioned to stimulate economic growth and welfare in areas that lack adequate fixed-line broadband infrastructures.

However, to assume this role the industry needs not only smart business models but also a supportive regulatory regime—particularly in poor and rural areas. This article analyses the impact of regulatory decisions on the economics of mobile broadband with a focus on poorer and less densely populated areas. It discusses the levers that regulators could employ in order to stimulate mobile broadband deployment and adoption. These range from the spectrum made available for mobile broadband to roll-out requirements and licensing fee structure. Results from a simulation show the effects of the various options in an archetypical developing country.

Read the full report (PDF—900 KB)