Mobile 4G and economic growth

mobile-data-growthMobile 4G and economic health

100 Million 4G users

The recent May 2013 dashboard from Wireless Intelligence shows that for the first time the number of 4G subscribers worldwide exceeds 100 million.  This indeed shows strong growth of the penetration of this new technology. However, 90% of this customer base is concentrated in only 5 countries: USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea. Surprisingly enough, Europe is absent from this roll-out achievement, while it was in Scandinavia that the first ever commercial 4G service launch occurred back in 2009.

Europe is late

We could scrutinize at length the possible reasons of the low speed take off of 4G in Europe, but this blog would not suffice. And each country has its own regulatory and market specificity. As I tried to express earlier, 4G provides a series of revolutions that will impact the business community, and, say, the way we do business. And any delay in implementing 4G services appear as signs of economic backwardness in the countries where it occurs.

The achievers

Let’s look at the 5 achievers, where 4G is currently provided to 4/5 of their populations: USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea. They all currently enjoy GDP growth, although not yet very steep, based on 1Q2013 achievements: Japan enjoyed a 3.5% growth on a yearly basis, Korea’s GDP annual growth rate is rising to 3.6%, Australia should live up to 2.5% GDP growth this year, USA enjoyed in 1 Q 2013 a significant quarterly GDP growth rate equivalent to 2.5% annually of and Canada a 1.5% only yearly increase.

Comparison of those developed economies to Europe

Although their growth rates are low compared to developing countries such as China, those countries all possess developed economies similar to the ones in Europe: and Europe GDP growth rate is expected to be only 0.1% in 2013. I do not intend to statistically link GDP growth of a developed country to its 4G services roll-out: there are far too many interactions involved and local and historical specificities to model anything like that.

Who dares harvests

Nevertheless, I would like just to point out that developed countries that currently perform economically the best are the ones that allow and promote advanced telecommunications services, hence also helping the development of the economy in all its aspects: creation of new added value services, new ways to access information and organize work. Countries who promote those new services seem to help themselves: at least the roll-out of 4G services appears as a good metrics to follow-up economic growth. And Europe seems to be incredibly late under this metrics.


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