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GSMA report reveals Pacific Islands on the Cusp on a Digital Revolution


8 April 2019, Fiji: The GSMA today presented ‘The Mobile Economy Pacific Islands 2019’
report, at the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA) 23rd AGM and annual
conference. In the report the GSMA highlighted the region’s potential and outlined that the
Pacific Islands are about to embark on a digital revolution with the support of mobile
technology. Additionally the findings showed that this revolution could only be realised
through collaboration between governments and the mobile ecosystem.
“This is an exciting time for the Pacific Islands as it stands on the cusp of a digital revolution
and mobile technology will play a pivotal role in this transformation, providing access to lifeenhancing services such as health and education and acting as a catalyst for innovation and
economic growth,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “To ensure affordable, highquality mobile services, collaboration across the mobile ecosystem, is key to unlocking the
full potential of mobile and to connect everyone and everything to a better future.”
Report Findings:
     Mobile helping to boost financial inclusion: The Pacific Financial Inclusion
Programme (PFIP) was launched in 2008 and has funded 44 projects with financial
service providers helping more than 2 million Pacific Islanders access formal
financial services;
     The ongoing shift to mobile broadband and digital transformation: at the end of
2018 mobile internet penetration in the region was the lowest of any region in the
world at 18 per cent. However, 4G connections in the Pacific Islands are set to
account for more than half of total connections by 2023, doubling the figure from the
end of 2018 and increasing access to services;
     Infrastructure challenges: Many countries in the Pacific Islands region face issues
around insufficient infrastructure. Several countries are yet to complete the digital
switchover process, including Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Solomon Islands; and
     Unlocking the full potential of mobile: The upcoming World Radiocommunication
Conference will be one of the best opportunities for governments and industry to
identify a significant amount of harmonized millimetre wave spectrum, which will
result in massive economies of scale for 5G in the future.
To unlock the full potential of existing and future mobile networks, access to sufficient
spectrum for better coverage and capacity is a necessity. In addition to its huge economic
benefits, 5G will also bring breakthroughs in the provision of many other services. The
mobile industry needs harmonised spectrum for 4G and 5G to become a global reality for
everyone including those who live and work in the Pacific Islands.

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