Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Mobile-voice plan: 70 countries yet to achieve 1% GNI - ITREALMS

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has revealed that some 70 countries currently have a low-usage mobile-voice plan which translates to less than 1 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, reports ITREALMS.

ITU’s latest Measuring Digital Development: ICT Price Trends 2019, available to ITREALMS, showed in its key results that an entry-level mobile-voice basket remains broadly affordable in most countries.

ITU Secretary-General, Mr. Houlin Zhao, was quoted as saying that “In 70 countries, a low-usage mobile-voice plan was available for less than 1 per cent of gross national income (GNI) per capita, and in a further 37 countries it stood below 2 per cent.”

He was quick to add that although causality is difficult to prove, price reductions have undoubtedly helped contribute to the rapid rise in the mobile-voice penetration rate, alongside growing competition and better price monitoring and evaluation by regulators.

The expansion of bundled services, ITU said, further reduced prices, as combined data-and-voice baskets are generally less expensive than the sum of the two separate baskets in most markets.

“Prices have decreased from 2013 to 2019 relative to GNI per capita The global average price of a mobile-data basket of 1.5 GB shrank from 8.4 per cent of GNI per capita in 2013 to 3.2 per cent in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of almost -15 per cent. When expressed in USD, the global average price of a mobile-data basket of at least 1.5 GB dropped by 7 per cent on average annually between 2013 and 2019,” ITU pointed out.

ITREALMS gathered that a good progress has been made towards the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development's target of achieving affordable broadband costing 2-5 per cent of GNI per capita by 2025, but still more remains to be done.

“There are still nine developing countries and 31 LDCs that have yet to reach the 2 per cent target by 2025,” the ITU analysis revealed.

In addition, ITU disclosed that fixed-broadband packages remained generally more expensive than mobile-data packages; although data allowances are not always directly comparable.

“Over the past four years, the affordability of fixed broadband has not changed substantially, but advertised download speeds continue to increase,” ITU affirmed.


Chuks Egbune/DoP

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