Accelerating Digital Transformation on World Telco and Information Society Day
On this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) as the global pandemic continues to be felt around the world, it is clear that never in recent memory has telecommunications and technology played such a prolific role in how we live and connect.
Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times – this year’s theme – is certainly apt. As the world tentatively reopens its doors, it is difficult to see what the full economic impact of the pandemic will be but one thing we do know is the role technology plays in how we connect has changed forever. Our reliance on mobile phones, broadband connections, video conferencing to work and live, and much more has been accelerated and we are now living in a new time – one that is digitally transformed or is at least on the way to being so.
However, the full extent of this transformation has not been uniformly felt around the world. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the severity of the digital divide that had already existed, but is now amplified for parts of society. A recent Forbes article noted that as the world becomes increasingly digital, we risk certain communities feeling displaced and falling further behind. The pandemic deepened the digital divide for many families who were vulnerable before its arrival.
This year’s (WTISD) theme aims to highlight the need to unite the world in pursuit of digital transformation. Indeed, bridging this digital divide is a problem that requires solutions for affordability, accessibility, and digital skills, coupled with governments and organisations that are willing to work collaboratively to solve these problems for the greater good.
Some strides are being made in democratising access to technology and the internet, and progress is happening – albeit slowly. According to the GSMA report Global Trends 2021: Navigating Covid- 19 and beyond, almost half the world’s population used mobile internet in 2019, equating to 3.8 billion users – an increase of 250 million since the end of 2018. The report also explained that there has been a notable increase in the range of online services people use in developing countries, including education, healthcare and e-government since 2017. This shift in consumer usage patterns is likely to have accelerated or at least continued as a result of Covid-19.
But there is a way to go, and our hope for the future is one of digital inclusivity. Since 2006, we have reached billions of phones, helping people all around the world to stay connected to their loved ones. On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, we are proud to look back at what our company has accomplished so far, however we have our sights firmly set on the future. After a year that has transformed every aspect of how we live, we remain focused on how we can work with our partners and customers to face the new normal together, lessen the digital divide and thrive in an era where connectivity will be of paramount importance.