GSMA, the global mobile industry trade association, ranks New Zealand number six in a league table measuring mobile connectivity in 130 countries.
The index measures the ability of countries to connect citizens to the mobile internet. It breaks this down to four categories: infrastructure, affordability, consumption and content.
Australia is in top place with an overall score of 84.7. The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway come next in that order.
New Zealand, at number six, has a score of 82.8. The USA is number eight and the UK is at ten.
The index rates New Zealand’s mobile infrastructure as better than Australia’s. However, in global terms both are poor. We are only at number 12 while Australia is 14. The GSMA defines Infrastructure as a measure of “the availability and equality of high-performance mobile internet network coverage”.
Australia is top of the table on affordability and consumer readiness. According to the GSMA, affordability takes into account "the availability of mobile services and devices at price points that reflect the level of income across a national population”. It also looks at taxes and other costs.
New Zealand ranks at four for content availability and at five in the world for consumer readiness. Our worst performance is in affordability.
The GSMA says the purpose of the index is to speed the delivery of universal internet access by helping the mobile industry prepare for the challenges.
There’s a long way to go yet. The GSMA says 3.2 billion had mobile internet access at the end of 2015; about 44 percent of the world’s population. Yet a third of these only had 2G networks.
About a third of the world’s population live in areas serviced by a mobile internet network but don’t have access to services. About 22 percent of the global population live outside of existing mobile networks.