The global digital landscape is defined by the narrowing of the digital gap between developed and emerging markets. While developed nations lead in internet access, emerging countries have witnessed improved uptake of mobile broadband and digital commerce. By 2030, China and India will dominate the emerging world due to higher fixed-broadband and data usage. Income inequality and privacy concerns are barriers to greater digital adoption.
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Asia Pacific will be home to more than half of global internet users in 2016, a result of a fast-expanding mobile subscriber base across the region. China is the regional leader in mobile internet usage and mobile-based shopping.
Competition, proactive regulations and young population will result in the world’s fastest growth in African internet users in 2016. Though rapid expansion in cellular networks will drive internet uptake, governments are expanding fixed-broadband networks for better rural internet coverage.
Over 2015-2030, emerging nations will witness fast growth in mobile internet coverage and account for a higher proportion of mobile internet subscribers than developed markets. By 2030, the Middle East and Africa will replace Western Europe and Latin America will unseat North America as the regions with the most mobile internet subscriptions.
By 2030, the most attractive telecom markets will be India, Iran, Mexico, the US and France. India will have one of the fastest fixed-broadband growth rates in Asia over next 15 years while rural telecom investments will extend service to more pockets of the US.
While access to digital services have been growing at a healthy pace, factors such as income inequality and concerns surrounding data privacy continue to act as barriers for digital connectivity. Ageing populations in the developed world, the persistent rural-urban digital divide globally and higher cost of services in emerging markets are other challenges for digital adoption.