Mobile driving innovation and growth in Europe - GSMA Mobile 360 Series

Mobile driving innovation and growth in Europe

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By GSMA Intelligence

GSMA launched the 2017 edition of the GSMA Mobile Economy Europe report at Mobile 360 – Europe on 17 October 2017. The report highlights key developments and the outlook for the mobile industry, the growing contribution of the mobile ecosystem to economic and social development, and the important role of mobile in driving engagement and innovation in the region. Today we outline the key findings from the report.

Europe is the most highly penetrated mobile region in the world. At the end of 2016, there were 456 million unique mobile subscribers in Europe, equivalent to 84% of the population. This high penetration rate means that there is little room for subscriber growth over the coming years. However, this is being offset by the rapid migration to 4G networks. 4G accounted for a third of mobile connections in Europe at the end of 2016, and is forecast to account for more than 60% of the total by 2020 as more Europeans take up 4G devices amid growing demand for data and as 4G network coverage increases.

By 2025, there will be 214 million 5G connections in Europe, representing more than 30% of total connections, establishing the region as one of the largest 5G markets in the world by that point. The first commercial 5G networks in Europe are due to be switched on by 2020 and are expected to provide 5G network coverage to almost three-quarters of Europe’s population by 2025.

Last year, mobile technologies and services generated €540 billion in economic value across Europe, a contribution equivalent to 3.4% of Europe’s GDP. By 2020, this figure is expected to increase to around €670 billion (3.9% of GDP), as the region experiences strong growth in productivity brought about by continued adoption of machine-to-machine technology and the increased digitisation of industry and services.

Europe’s mobile ecosystem supported 2.6 million jobs, directly and indirectly, in 2016. The sector also makes an important contribution to the funding of the public sector, with €100 billion raised in 2016, mainly in the form of general taxation, including VAT, corporate taxes and employment taxes.

To support the mobile industry’s increasing contribution to Europe’s growth and innovation, the report highlights the need for new thinking around telecoms sector regulation. It calls for a review of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market, launched two years ago, particularly with regards to new proposals such as the European Electronic Communications Code and ePrivacy Regulation.

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