Mobile technology has created 11 million jobs and $3.3 trillion in revenue

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We know that mobile technology has had a huge impact on the global economy and society, and now a new report seeks to quantify that impact. Mobile technology generated a value chain of $3.3 trillion in revenue in 2014, according to a Boston Consulting Group report.

Qualcomm, one of the world’s largest mobile chipmakers, commissioned the report, titled “The Mobile Technology Revolution.” Companies in the mobile value chain invested $1.8 trillion in infrastructure and research and development from 2009 to 2013. Almost all of this investment came from the private sector. The report says an additional $4 trillion should be invested by 2020 to continue the mobile revolution.

The report attempts to assess the economic impact of mobile technology around the world. The Boston Consulting Group examined mobile technology and its benefits in the United States, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, China, and India. She surveyed 7,500 consumers across the six countries to quantify the value consumers derive from mobile. Mobile technology contributes more than $1.2 trillion to GDP in these six countries.

Consumers in developed economies value mobile technology at more than $6,000 a year, or 12% of their income. In developing economies like China and India, the value of mobile exceeds 40% of average income. In fact, the majority of respondents were willing to give up eating out or going on vacation for a year in order to keep their mobile phone. In China and Korea, a majority of users would give up a home broadband Internet access subscription rather than go without a mobile phone.

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The report also states that the overall annual consumer surplus – or the benefit that consumers receive from mobile technologies in addition to what they pay for – amounts to $6.4 trillion. This exceeds the gross domestic product of every country in the world except the United States and China.

The Boston Consulting Group also surveyed 3,500 small businesses in six countries. He found that small businesses that adopt advanced mobile technologies grow revenue up to twice as fast and create jobs up to eight times faster than their peers.

But the report is troubling in a way. It indicates that the “mobile divide” – the difference in growth between mobile leaders and laggards – is about to increase.

In the United States, the 3.2% GDP generated by mobile technologies exceeds the GDP of essential industries such as entertainment, transport, automotive, hospitality and agriculture.

David C. Michael, senior partner and co-author of the report, said the report shows that mobile is clearly driving economic growth, but much more innovation is needed. And politicians and policy makers should note that mobile telephony requires strong infrastructural support, radio spectrum allocation policies and the establishment of standards. Around 90% of mobile device owners say they want faster speeds for mobile data access.

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