Principles for Driving the Digital Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Principles for Driving the Digital Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Around 15% of the world’s population, or an estimated one billion people are persons with disabilities. Over the last few years, the GSMA Assistive Tech programme has conducted research on the mobile disability gap, as well as the drivers and challenges of digital inclusion of persons with disabilities. The evidence is clear that mobile access and use remains unequal – there is a significant disability gap in mobile phone ownership, and persons with disabilities are less likely to own smartphones and use mobile internet than people without disabilities. 

Yet, mobile connectivity is critical for a majority of people to use the internet, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the world’s reliance on internet to access critical information, services and opportunities has never been greater. By clustering together multiple assistive technologies in a single device, mobile phones are cost effective tools for persons with disabilities to enable greater inclusion. If we want to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, it is fundamental to address the current mobile disability gap and ensure that no one is left behind in our increasingly digital world.

The mobile industry must act now

A global effort is needed to create a significant shift in how persons with disabilities are reached and included. This shift needs to happen across the entire mobile value chain from how mobile services are inclusively designed to innovating with and for persons with disabilities. 

In conjunction with mobile operators and disability and accessibility experts, the GSMA has developed the Principles for Driving the Digital Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. These principles provide a framework for action for the industry along with a set of potential activities that can be taken by mobile operators to reduce the gap in access and use.

A female with down syndrome smiling

Take action

Take action to drive the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities

By endorsing these Principles, showing leadership on disability inclusion and taking disability inclusive actions, mobile phone operators and digital stakeholders will support and advance a more inclusive society and amplify the voices of persons with disabilities through digital technology.

Get in touch


The following mobile operators have committed to taking action to improve the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Dialog logo
Zain logo
Optus logo
Turkcell logo
Orange logo
Vodacom logo
Safaricom logo

This initiative has been funded by UK aid from the UK government and is supported by the GSMA and its members. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government's official policies.
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