The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent economic turmoil, mobile internet connectivity continued to grow. For the first time, more than half of the world’s population – just over 4 billion people – are using mobile internet. In 2020, coverage continued to increase, with 94% of the population now covered by a mobile broadband network.

However, 43% of the world’s population is still not using mobile internet despite living within the footprint of a mobile broadband network. The unconnected disproportionately live in low- and middle-income countries and are more likely to be poorer, less educated, older, rural and women. While increasing mobile broadband coverage remains an important issue to address, reducing the usage gap is key to close the digital divide.

The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity report is the annual flagship publication of the Connected Society programme since 2018.  This report provides the mobile industry and other stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of the trends in global connectivity, as well as insights on key barriers to mobile internet adoption and use, to inform progress towards closing the coverage and usage gaps.

Further country-level data can be found in the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index, a tool which measures the performance of 170 countries, representing 99% of the global population, against the key enablers of mobile internet adoption: infrastructure; affordability; consumer readiness; and content and services. The Index was developed as part of the mobile industry’s commitment to drive mobile internet connectivity and accelerate digital inclusion.

 

State of mobile internet connectivity, by region

Click on a region to see the data

  • Global
  • East Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Latin America & Caribbean
  • South Asia
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • North America
  • Europe & Central Asia

Global

2014
2021
24 %
6 %

Coverage gap

43 %
43 %

Usage gap

32 %
51 %

Connected

East Asia

2014
2021
9 %
2 %

Coverage gap

53 %
34 %

Usage gap

38 %
64 %

Connected

Sub-Saharan Africa

2014
2021
50 %
19 %

Coverage gap

37 %
53 %

Usage gap

13 %
28 %

Connected

Latin America & Caribbean

2014
2021
17 %
4 %

Coverage gap

43 %
40 %

Usage gap

40 %
56 %

Connected

South Asia

2014
2021
44 %
5 %

Coverage gap

39 %
61 %

Usage gap

17 %
34 %

Connected

Middle East & North Africa

2014
2021
30 %
7 %

Coverage gap

41 %
48 %

Usage gap

29 %
45 %

Connected

North America

2014
2021
1 %
1 %

Coverage gap

38 %
22 %

Usage gap

61 %
77 %

Connected

Europe & Central Asia

2014
2021
8 %
3 %

Coverage gap

38 %
26 %

Usage gap

54 %
72 %

Connected

  • Global
  • East Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Latin America & Caribbean
  • South Asia
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • North America
  • Europe & Central Asia
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed
Mobile internet connectivity
3G, 4G & 5G
Download speeds
This graph shows the evolution of global mobile internet connectivity from 2014 to 2020, including the percentage of people connected, the coverage gap and the usage gap.
This graph shows the trend in 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from 2014 to 2020.
This graph shows the trend in download speed from 2014 to 2020.
Key:
Coverage gap
Usage gap
Connected
3G
4G
5G
Download speed

Regional Resources

Previous Reports and Resources

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