How Adding Mobile Subscribers Will Drive Inclusive Growth

Q&A with David Michael

David Michael, Senior Advisor of the Boston Consulting Group and Professor of Practice at UC San Diego's Graduate School of Global Policy and Strategy, believes better policy objectives, further investment, and coordinated action by governments, technology providers and multilateral agencies can advance deployment of wider mobile access.

What is the focus of your proposal?

Our proposal focuses on the deployment of advanced mobile networks across the world. It’s something that we take for granted, we assume that it’s happening, but what we point out is that in many emerging markets [...] the most advanced networks are not being deployed at a sufficient rate. And so our proposal really is a call to action to establish a score card, evaluating governments around the world on their true rate of progress in deploying the most advanced mobile networks which really the modern global economy needs and that people need to become part of an inclusive growth model.

What was your inspiration?

We were inspired to put together this proposal regarding mobility from some work that we did in China and India where we documented and quantified just how transformative mobile communications were to people in those societies. And it really became clear that it was worth an enormous amount of money and an enormous amount of social impact on people in these environments. We also then noted that, well, this is hugely beneficial to people but is it really happening and is it happening fast enough?

What obstacles have you faced?

There’s the challenge of communicating to people what is this gap that is emerging, the gap between those that have access to advanced mobile services and those that do not. I think there’s a real challenge to engage and communicate with important organizations and institutions around the world. That’s why we are excited to work with the Kennedy School and CID here, with the World Economic Forum, and with MasterCard. Together those institutions can make a big contribution in getting the word out about this important initiative.

What takeaways do you have from the Symposium?

The seminar today was fantastic and inspiring, and we heard 11 incredibly great ideas for inclusive growth. I was inspired. I reflected upon just how important mobile services are given that a number of the other initiatives presented today actually depend upon the mobile networks to be there in order for those initiatives to come about. I also picked up a number of new ideas and suggestions from other participants and I appreciated the way in which the organizers had a professor or a respondent to react and comment upon each of the initiatives that was presented.