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ITU secures $9 billion commitments from mobile operators to expand global connectivity 

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said it has secured commitments totaling $9 billion from mobile operators to expand global connectivity.  

ITU Secretary-General, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, announced this on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Monday. According to a statement from the union, these commitments build on the mobile industry’s strong support for ITU’s efforts to connect the world.   

Alongside the new commitments, the UN Digital Agency also announced that it now has over 1,000 industry, academia, and organizational members in addition to its 193 Member States. This milestone marks the largest, most diverse membership in the agency’s history.  

The new industry commitments brought the total current value of planned investment in infrastructure, services, and support to ITU’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition since the platform opened in March 2022 to over USD 46 billion.  

While noting that the funding commitments would make meaningful connectivity possible across the globe, the ITU Secretary-General said: 

Also commenting on the development, the Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, John Giusti, said:  

The commitments announced at Mobile World Congress include: 

According to data from ITU, 2.6 billion people remain offline worldwide. As telecommunications infrastructure forms the backbone of connectivity and digital transformation, it is vital for closing that global digital divide and overcoming development impediments in areas from education and health to government services and trade.  

ITU has called for USD 100 billion in overall investments by 2026 to provide the expertise and resources required to extend universal, meaningful connectivity and sustainable digital transformation to every corner of the globe.  

In addition to infrastructure, Partner2Connect commitments can support other critical needs including building digital skills and increasing digital inclusion. The new commitments from e&, China Telecom, Ooredoo and VEON are expected to be implemented over the next 2-5 years.