Building our mobile ecosystem at high speed
Manifesto: The Digital Torch
Throughout 2017, the use of smartphones continued to soar and 4G adoption to grow at double-digit rates. Year-on-year, we added 3.7 million new 4G customers, more than doubling our 4G subscriber base to seven million, and reported 21.2 million mobile date subscribers overall.
The rapid growth in data traffic as a result led to an upswing in B2C Mobile organic revenue for 2017 of US$1.336bn, equal to 19.6%. Our focus will remain on making sure that this incremental traffic translates into additional revenues.
With our strategy to provide the best data network, the opportunities are clear.
Our 4G network now covers more than half the population in our Latin American footprint, yet 4G remains a minority at around 22% of our mobile base. There is scope for further 4G/LTE network expansion and the potential to raise our customer penetration rates which still lag those of developed markets.
We have a strong device portfolio with more data-capable smartphones coming out and a post-paid strategy that enables customers to use data services on the move. Five years ago, 21% of mobile users in emerging markets owned a smartphone. That figure now stands at 37%. The availability of lower-end smartphones sold for around US$40 is improving affordability as well as driving demand for data services.
We are bringing more compelling data-centric products and services to market, encouraging customers to use more data, while maintaining price discipline and margins. For businesses large and small, commercial success depends on being connected from anywhere at any time, on business critical functions such as online distribution, sales channels and web-based customer communications.
We are committed as well to tackling developing trends and digital divides that can have negative impact on what we do.
We fully recognize, for example, that fewer women than men across low and middle income countries own a mobile phone and we are committed to closing this gap in favour of a more inclusive society. As part of the Connected Women initiative set up by the GSMA, we aim to reduce this gap in our markets and strongly promote the use of mobile technology by women.
Our markets lie beyond the western economies and may seem less familiar to some. To us, they promise dynamic potential for growth, as places where we can connect more people, improve lives and develop our communities.
See our Annual Report 2017