The Third Wave of Connectivity

GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association – the leading world trade association of mobile operators) have just published in conjunction with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) their 136 page report Mobile Economy Europe 2013.

Their overall perspective 

 “The mobile ecosystem (both directly and indirectly) generated around 2.2% of European GDP in 2012, (€261 billion) while also directly contributing 390 thousand jobs to the European economy. The industry contributed €53B to public funding last year, while receipts from spectrum auctions alone in the last two years have totalled over €17B. There are also a range of tangible social benefits across a range of other parameters, including in the areas of environment, health, and education.”

Their connective life or the third wave

“We are now seeing a new “third” wave of connectivity, beyond tablets and laptops; to connected cars and buildings (amongst others); with the prospect of connecting almost anything and anyone (what the GSMA refer to as the “Connected Life”).”

Others might call this the internet of everything.

Click to enlarge

The potential

“Machina estimate the total Connected Life market revenue opportunity at over €234B in Europe by 2020, which includes service improvements and innovative new services, as well as the scope to make material cost savings. mHealth services alone have potential to deliver cost savings in healthcare delivery of up to €99B, whilst adding €93B to European GDP by 2017, as well as addressing issues around quality of life and mortality rates for millions of people.

There is also the scope to unleash much greater socio economic impact via mobile technology in the coming years, if issues around spectrum availability and delays in accessing to the Digital Dividend spectrum are addressed. This spectrum could generate up to €119B of incremental GDP over the period to 2020, producing €55B of tax revenues and supporting up to 156,000 new jobs across the region.”

The numbers are impressively huge and are repeated visually on one of their infographics.


  • “The first wave connected people on the move, with Europe leading the way with the success of the GSM standard.
  • The second one brought mobile broadband at higher data speeds to hundreds of millions of individuals and businesses in Europe, with 3G services now available on a near ubiquitous basis.”

We might argue (discounting the mobile caveat to an extent) that we are now entering  the fourth wave of connectivity:

  1. Desktops
  2. Smartphones
  3. Tablets and laptops
  4. Machines

 Comprehensive report available on line (flip book) or to download.

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