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ITU secures $9 billion commitments from mobile operators to boost global connectivity

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has secured   $9 billion commitments  from mobile operators aimed to boost global connectivity.

 The  commitments brings the total current value of planned investment in infrastructure, services, and support to ITU’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition since the platform opened in March 2022 to over USD 46 billion.  

According to data from ITU, 2.6 billion people remain offline worldwide. As telecommunications infrastructure forms the backbone of connectivity and digital transformation, it is vital for closing that global digital divide and overcoming development impediments in areas from education and health to government services and trade.  

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ITU Secretary-General, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who made this announcement at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) , said that the funding commitments would make meaningful connectivity possible across the globe. She said that these commitments build on the mobile industry’s strong support for ITU’s efforts to connect the world.   

“Universal meaningful connectivity is within our grasp. Thanks to these new commitments, millions of people will benefit from accessible and affordable connectivity across the world.”  

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The Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, John Giusti, commented:   “I applaud the ITU Secretary-General’s focus on the importance of infrastructure investment to enable the digital economy. Mobile operators continuously invest in deploying and upgrading their networks, delivering benefits to citizens in all corners of the globe.

“I congratulate e&, China Telecom, Ooredoo, and VEON on their investment pledges. I am encouraged that MWC is the event of choice for such commitments and collaboration between the public and private sectors.”  

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The commitments announced at Mobile World Congress include:

e&: USD 6 billion between 2024 and 2026 for accessible and affordable network connectivity and digital services across countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia

China Telecom: Over USD 1.4 billion to roll out fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)​, providing high-quality information and communication services to over 80 million people in remote administrative villages across China.

Ooredoo: USD 1.1 billion for connectivity in the developing markets ranging from North Africa to the Indian Ocean.

VEON: USD 600 million in building the infrastructure of Ukrai​ne, providing connectivity and digital services essential to the reconstruction of the country.

ITU aims to raise USD 100 billion in overall investments by 2026 to provide the expertise and resources required to extend universal, meaningful connectivity and sustainable digital transformation to every corner of the globe.  

Besides, infrastructure, Partner2Connect commitments can support other critical needs including building digital skills and increasing digital inclusion.

Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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