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Surge in digital adoption not slowing: Telenor

Mindy Tan
Published Mon, Sep 5, 2022 · 10:00 AM

THREE in four of over 8,000 mobile internet users surveyed say they believe that digital access is “very important” for them to lead greener lives in the future, citing benefits such as a reduction in paper, waste and electricity, and being able to communicate more efficiently.

These mobile internet users came from 8 countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) in South and South-east Asia. They were surveyed for Telenor Asia’s new Digital Lives Decoded study.

In terms of benefits, respondents cited a reduction in paper, waste, and electricity (70 per cent of respondents), being able to communicate more efficiently (67 per cent) and providing better access to public transport with more information (55 per cent).

Separately, a resounding 93 per cent of respondents believe that their mobile usage improves quality of life. Overall, women lead this trend with 64 per cent saying their quality of life significantly enhanced compared to 52 per cent of men.

This trend is most apparent in Thailand (76 per cent) and Indonesia (74 per cent), where the highest number of women are connecting to “significantly better” lives through their mobile use.

Singapore is the only country where this trend is reversed, with more males (54 per cent) than females (49 per cent) finding that mobile usage improves their lives significantly.

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Separately, South Asian markets (91 per cent in Bangladesh and 88 per cent in Pakistan) were less convinced.

However, it is around financial inclusion where mobile usage is really levelling the playing field, noted Telenor. A whopping 92 per cent of respondents said mobile usage has increased their access to financial services while 57 per cent said they believe their access to financial services has “significantly improved”.

That being said, disparities continue to persist between urban and rural areas - 60 per cent of those in the city said mobile technology has granted them greater access to financial services versus 50 per cent from rural areas.

“Compared to before the pandemic, mobile data usage has more than doubled in most Asian markets, reshaping how we communicate at work and at home,” noted Jorgen Rostrup, Head of Telenor Asia.

“Interestingly, this survey shows that people want the changes in digital use and their daily lives to stay. In fact, they continue to immerse themselves in a digital world despite rules on travel and social interaction being relaxed,” he said.

Nearly all the consumers surveyed have their mobile devices with them for at least half of the day, with 1 in 5 saying they are never without their phone. The study further found that people in the Philippines and Thailand are most dependent on their mobile phones, with 29 per cent and 25 per cent respectively saying they are never without their mobile phones.

This dependence is set to grow, with 74 per cent expecting their mobile usage to increase in the coming years, a trend greatest among respondents in Thailand and Vietnam (82 per cent and 81 per cent respectively).

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