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ITU Announces Over $9 Billion Investment to Extend Global Connectivity

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC), The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin unveiled a significant milestone in global connectivity announcing that Mobile operator groups have committed over $9 billion to the course, reinforcing the mobile industry’s dedication to ITU’s mission of global connection.

This announcement comes alongside another landmark for the UN Digital Agency, which now boasts a membership exceeding 1,000 organizations, including industry leaders, academia, and various entities beyond its 193 Member States. This diverse membership represents the largest in the agency’s history.

With these new commitments, the total planned investment in infrastructure, services, and ITU’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition surpasses $46 billion since its inception in March 2022.

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“Universal meaningful connectivity is within our grasp,” asserted ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “Thanks to these new commitments, millions of people will benefit from accessible and affordable connectivity across the world.”

Among the notable commitments announced at Mobile World Congress are:

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e&:$6 billion allocated 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 $1.4 billion dedicated to rolling out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), providing high-quality information and communication services to over 80 million people in remote administrative villages across China.

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Ooredoo: A pledge of $1.1 billion for connectivity in developing markets spanning from North Africa to the Indian Ocean.

VEON: A commitment of $600 million to bolster the infrastructure of Ukraine, facilitating connectivity and digital services crucial for the country’s reconstruction.

Chief Regulatory Officer of GSMA, John Giusti commended the ITU Secretary-General’s emphasis on infrastructure investment for enabling the digital economy.

He praised the commitments from e&, China Telecom, Ooredoo, and VEON, highlighting the collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors.

“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 for collaboration between the public and private sectors.” 

ITU’s data reveals that 2.6 billion people worldwide remain offline, underscoring the importance of telecommunications infrastructure in bridging the global digital divide.

To address this, ITU has called for $100 billion in investments by 2026 to extend universal, meaningful connectivity and sustainable digital transformation globally.

Beyond infrastructure, Partner2Connect commitments can support critical needs such as building digital skills and enhancing digital inclusion. The new commitments from industry leaders are expected to be implemented over the next 2-5 years.

In tandem with this investment announcement, ITU disclosed its largest and most diverse industry and academia membership in history.

Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech.

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