The GSMA has become a member of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), which is committed to reducing the cost of internet access in developing countries. It means the mobile network trade association will work with A4AI to identify and address policy and regulatory barriers to internet access.
A4AI launched in October 2013. Other members include Alcatel-Lucent, the Association for Progressive Communications, Cisco, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Intel, the Internet Society, Microsoft, the Omidyar Network, Research ICT Africa, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), USAID and Yahoo.
Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA, said “We welcome the opportunity to become a member of the Alliance for Affordable Internet and to help tackle one of the most pressing technological challenges in less-developed countries. According to GSMA Intelligence, penetration rates of mobile subscribers are as low as 20% in Ethiopia, 28% in India and 30% in Pakistan, though high levels of multiple SIM ownership mean the numbers of mobile connections are higher. There is an urgent need for affordable smartphones, the rapid, economically viable deployment of wireless broadband infrastructure in rural areas and the promotion of digital literacy to help connect the unconnected in underserved communities around the world.”