Mobile contribution to economic growth, employment and public funding
The direct economic contribution of the mobile ecosystem The mobile ecosystem consists of mobile operators; infrastructure providers; retailers and distributors of mobile products and services; mobile device manufacturers; and mobile content, application and service providers. The direct economic contribution to GDP of these firms is estimated by measuring their value added to the economy, including employee compensation, business operating surplus and taxes. In 2017, the total value added generated by the global mobile ecosystem was $1.1 trillion (or 1.4% of GDP), with mobile operators accounting for more than 60% of this.
In addition to their direct economic contribution, firms in the mobile ecosystem purchase inputs from their providers in the supply chain. For example, device manufacturers purchase inputs from microchip providers, and mobile content providers require services from the broader IT sector. Furthermore, some of the profits and earnings generated by the mobile ecosystem are spent on other goods and services, stimulating further economic activity in those sectors. We estimate that in 2017, this additional economic activity generated a further $490 billion in value added globally (or 0.6% of GDP).
The use of mobile technology also drives improvements in productivity and efficiency for workers and firms. Different types of mobile technology have their own impact on the productivity of the global economy:
- Mobile voice and text services allow workers and firms to communicate more efficiently and effectively (by reducing unproductive travel time, for example).
- 3G and 4G technology allow workers and firms to use mobile data and internet services. This improves access to information and services, which in turn drives efficiency in business processes across many industries, including finance and health. The impact of mobile internet is particularly significant in Together, these productivity impacts generated $2 trillion in value added in 2017 (or 2.5% of GDP). Overall, taking into account the direct, indirect and productivity impacts, in 2017 the mobile industry made a total contribution of $3.6 trillion in valueadded terms, equivalent to 4.5% of global GDP.
developing countries, where fixed infrastructure is poor and mostly confined to large cities and business/industrial districts.