According to the ITU, there are 2.9 Billion unconnected or under-connected people across the world. At M2Catalyst, our aim is to identify exactly where they are in urban, rural, and remote areas.
Access to mobile broadband is viewed by governments, the telecom industry, corporations, educational entities, and citizens alike as critical for the progress of humanity. Can children excel academically without adequate access to mobile broadband? Can adults work remotely and maintain their jobs without it? Can citizens take advantage of the many health services that are offered via the web without it? The answer in each case is a resounding “No, they cannot.” Hence, the necessity (and urgency) to bridge the digital divide.
In the previous M2Catalyst Digital Divide Studies, we analyzed the rural and agricultural regions of the world and identified tens of millions of locations (down to 1 square KM areas) where people are unconnected or under-connected. In this new Urban Digital Divide study, we will focus on city centers around the world where disadvantaged citizens have either no access or very limited access to mobile broadband.
The Urban Digital Divide: 2 International Cities
The M2Catalyst Urban Digital Divide Global Study begins with the analysis of two areas in the Ankara, Turkey metropolitan area; comparing Sincan and Downtown Ankara. The study concludes with the analysis of two areas in the Johannesburg, South Africa metropolitan area; comparing Soweto and Sandton. We analyzed the mobile network performance in disadvantaged neighborhoods versus the wealthier areas in each city. Focusing solely on 4G and 5G signal strength, we found in each of these areas, as demonstrated in the screenshots below, a great disparity between the Quality of Service for the economic haves (3, 4 or 5 bars) and the economic have-nots (one bar or no service).
Sincan's chart and map indicate a high need for network improvements.
Downtown Ankara's chart and map indicate a low need for network improvements.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Soweto's chart and map indicate a high need for network
improvements while Sandton shows a low need for them.
Thus, even though mobile network operators have invested enormous amounts of money and have done an admirable job in rolling out 4G and 5G, much work still needs to be done to achieve Quality of Service parity between the rich and poor within U.S. urban environments.
More About The Network Cell Info Community
Millions of app users globally have contributed more than 3 trillion network performance measurements.
How does the Network Cell Info community help bridge the digital divide? We provide the No Signal Data back to Mobile Network Operators for free.
Download the free M2Catalyst app, Network Cell Info Lite, to submit network performance data in your area.
M2Catalyst reports the no-signal readings (dead zones) to MNOs for free. If you work for an MNO, please contact via our form at www.m2catalyst.com/contact
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