Digital technologies to be crucial for Bangladesh’s 2041 plans: GSMA

Staff Correspondent

31 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Digital technologies, especially mobile phones, will be crucial to implementing Bangladesh’s 2041 Perspective Plan, achieving the SDGs and recovering the economy from the pandemic effects, according to a report.

The titled “Achieving mobile-enabled digital inclusion in Bangladesh” was published on Tuesday by the GSMA, said a press release.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

The report states that enhancing digital inclusion, by increasing the coverage and usage of the mobile internet, will be essential to maximising the impact of digital technologies on the government’s development aspirations.

The new GSMA report analyses the barriers to coverage and usage of the mobile internet in Bangladesh, and concludes with recommendations on how to strengthen efforts to increase mobile internet adoption and support infrastructure deployment.

A virtual roundtable discussion was also organised on the occasion, jointly by GSMA and AMTOB.

The stakeholders from the government, regulator, mobile industry, and development community joined the roundtable.

It discussed how Bangladesh could advance digital inclusion by addressing two of the country’s key barriers to mobile internet usage and adoption: Affordability and Digital Knowledge and Skills.

Mustafa Jabbar, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Division, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of digital technologies in keeping our citizens connected; and the need to accelerate the progress of digital transformation in Bangladesh.” He said the government will continue to work collaboratively with key stakeholders, including the mobile industry, to understand and address the barriers that prevent the people of Bangladesh from using the internet.

Julian Gorman, Head of APAC, GSMA said improving access to and usage of the mobile internet remains a key priority for the GSMA.

“We remain at hand to help both our members and the government achieve our shared goal of leveraging the full power of the mobile internet to connect more citizens and further drive digital inclusion,” Gorman added. Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, AMTOB President, said, “The report shows us that there is a significant gap between 4G coverage and usage of 4G services. “

He said addressing the factors behind these key issues such as 4G device availability and affordability and digital skills would be fundamental to ensuring a Digital Bangladesh for All. Among the panellists, representatives from a2i, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC), GSMA, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) participated in the event.