Mobile connectivity has grown beyond the reach of the electricity grid and piped water networks in most emerging markets. Since 2000, the slow growth of energy and water access (between 1 and 2% per year) compared to the rapid expansion of GSM mobile networks (11% per year), has widened the gap between access to mobile and access to utility services especially for underserved populations.
As of 2012 for urban and rural locations, electricity access was estimated at 91% and 63% respectively and for improved water access at 95% and 79%. In comparison, GSM coverage is reaching up to 84% of the population living in developing countries. In cities, most of the population is now covered by GSM networks (~97%) whereas in rural locations, around 72% of the population has mobile coverage.
The GSMA’s Mobile-enabled Community Services programme supports the mobile industry in its distinctive position to help solve the challenges of extending access to energy and water services in emerging markets. The size and the reach of the industry’s infrastructure, distribution channels, mobile payments and technologies offer innovative pathways to achieve reliable energy access and increased water access for underserved communities.
This document outlines: The size of the addressable markets for mobile-enabled energy and water services by regions; and the mobile channels that support access to improved infrastructure services.
The total addressable market for mobile-enabled energy access is more than 643 million people in 2013 or 53% of the global population without access to the electricity grid (~1.2 Billion people). The total addressable market for mobile-enabled water access is approximately 262 million people in 2013 or 34% of the global population without access to improved water sources (~780 million people).
Nique, M. Sizing the Opportunity of Mobile to Support Energy and Water Access. (2013) 26 pp.