The GSMA has lauded the global mobile industry for the immense contribution towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2020 despite Covid-19.

But it noted that there is need for continued action to meet set targets.

Unveiling its latest mobile industry impact report assessing performance towards meeting the SDGs, the GSMA noted the industry increased its contribution to all 17 goals during 2020.

According to the report, impactful developments included a 33 per cent jump in average global download speeds despite increased traffic in the pandemic year.

The boost in download speeds was attributed to increased 4G and 5G uptake which, it noted, allowed progress in several of the goals reliant on quality mobile connectivity.

The SDGs are aimed at various areas including economic growth, employment, health and education, with targets set to expire in 2030. These areas, the GSMA said, had been aided by improved connectivity and an increase in connection numbers.

Its report concluded the mobile industry achieved 50 per cent of its potential contribution to the SDGs by the end of 2020, up from 48 per cent in 2019 and 33 per cent in 2015.

GSMA director general Mats Granryd said: “The pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in many ways, so keeping the commitment to the SDGs has never been more important for governments and industries. Yet, we know that it will not be possible to attain the 2030 Agenda without mobile connectivity. It is our responsibility to collaborate in new ways that will maximise the industry’s potential.”


In Ghana, for instance, government released free spectrum to the two leading telcos, MTN and Vodafone and that helped them to boost data experience across the country amid Covid-19, despite the fact that the service providers allowed a lot of free browsing that shot up data consumption exponentially.

Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications recently reported that during the pandemic, the industry invested billion of cedis to improve data capacity by a whopping 130%, from 2.2 million terabytes per day to 3.6 million terabytes per day. It projects that by close of December 2021, data traffic is expected to grow to 5 million terabytes per day.

Climate goals

The GSMA reported also noted that the mobile industry was also progressing towards separate climate goals through various actions and pledges.

The release of the data comes on the week of the UN’s General Assembly and at a time when operators in various markets seek to highlight their actions on sustainability.