Feature Article

July 03, 2012

Unprecedented Urban Growth & its Link to Mobile Communications

Since the mid-1980s, the pace of the population shift from the United States and Europe toward Asia and the resulting growth in key urban areas in the world have been increasing dramatically, notes McKinsey Global Institute in a new study, which says this trend is expected to continue.

“Cities have long been the world’s economic dynamos, but today the speed and scale of their expansion are unprecedented,” according to the report, called Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class. “Through a combination of consumption and investment in physical capital, growing cities could inject up to $30 trillion a year into the world economy by 2025. Understanding cities and their shifting demographics is critical to reaching urban consumers and to preparing for the challenges that will arise from increasing demand for natural resources (such as water and energy) and for capital to invest in new housing, office buildings, and port capacity.”

That’s not to mention communications infrastructure.

 McKinsey Global Institute goes on to write that “the 600 cities making the largest contribution to a higher global GDP – the City 600 – will generate nearly 65 percent of world economic growth by 2025. However, the most dramatic story within the City 600 involves just over 440 cities in emerging economies; by 2025, the Emerging 440 will account for close to half of overall growth. One billion people will enter the global consuming class by 2025. They will have incomes high enough to classify them as significant consumers of goods and services, and around 600 million of them will live in the Emerging 440.”

Mobile connectivity is improving quality of life for the growing throngs of urban dwellers, according to a separate study by Ericsson’s ConsumerLab research team.

"Urbanization is a global mega-trend,” notes Michael Björn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab. “City populations grow by 7,500 people per hour, and people are clearly feeling some stress from overcrowding. But we also see how people in cities use ICT as a means to alleviate such feelings and to better experience city life."

The report indicates around 40 percent of people in cities use smartphones to access information to solve day-to-day issues and that mobile information can help ease the stress of commuting, which is noted in the survey as the biggest source of frustration.

Yet another report, this one from Infonetics Research, notes that China Mobile, Vodafone, and América Móvil are the world's top mobile operators by number of subscribers. 

"The number of mobile broadband subscribers jumped nearly 50 percent in 2011 to 846 million, and we expect that number to reach 2.6 billion by 2016, driven by Brazil, Russia, India, China and others in the developing world," says Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics. "We anticipate Asia Pacific to account for over half of the world's mobile broadband subscribers by 2016, while Latin America will see the fastest growth."

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Then be sure to attend the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX. Co-sponsored by TMC Partner Crossfire Media the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo provides unmatched networking opportunities and a robust conference program representing the mobile ecosystem. The conference not only brings together the best and brightest in the wireless industry, it actually spans the communications and technology industry. For more information on registering for the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo click here.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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