Quality of life and digital inclusion

Telenor Asia recently conducted a survey of 8,000 mobile internet users in eight Asian countries. The survey was conducted in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in South and Southeast Asia on the occasion of Telenor’s 25th anniversary.

The results of the survey entitled “Digital Lives Decoded” highlight five factors as important influencers in the use of digital technology. According to the survey, most people want to live an always active lifestyle. 91% of respondents in Bangladesh believe that their lifestyle has improved through the use of mobile phones. Overall, women are ahead in this regard. 63% of women responded positively compared to 52% of men when the quality of life in the region improved considerably. Additionally, 59% of women and 50% of men believe their quality of life has improved due to mobile phones in Bangladesh.

On Tuesday, October 18, Grameenphone released the results of an investigation into a local hotel. Jurgen C. Arentz Rostrap, President of Grameenphone and Director of Telenor Asia, delivered the keynote address for the event. In his keynote address, he highlighted how connectivity is linked to key trends to ensure greater economic opportunity, everyday convenience and access to essential services for users. Later in the roundtable, Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azman, UNDP Bangladesh Deputy Resident Representative Van Nuyen and Child Health Research Foundation Director and Scientist Senjuti Saha discussed the findings from the perspective of sight of Bangladesh. Grameenphone Commercial Director Dr. Asif Naimur Rashid moderated the panel discussion.

Jürgen C. Arentz Rostrup, president of Grameenphone and director of Telenor Asia, said that in many cases, mobile devices create distance between people, discourage them from their environment and damage relationships and communication skills. But this survey gives us a different idea. Mobile data usage in Asian countries has more than doubled compared to the pre-pandemic period, forcing us to rethink how we communicate at home. Understanding this gap is important for policy makers, businesses and individuals. This study highlights where the digital divide lies. The results obtained in this study will play a useful role in bridging the digital divide.

Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, said, “Empowering society is Grameenphone’s primary goal. Grameenphone has worked tirelessly for 25 years to reduce digital inequalities through connectivity. I am very happy that mobile technology is playing an important role in education, healthcare and financial services through our efforts; Links between urban and rural areas have been established. We have also been able to deliver on our mission to achieve a poverty-free, knowledge-based and empowered economy through a digitally skilled and globally competitive workforce.

1. Life at the touch of a finger – always on!
Almost all respondents said they keep their phone with them for much of the day, and one in five said they never go without. However, around 71% of Bangladeshi respondents believe they maintain a sufficient balance in the use of technology. 91% of users in Bangladesh use their phone at least half of the day. On the other hand, 20% of respondents said they use their phone all the time.

73% of Bangladeshis said their mobile usage will increase over the next 12-24 months and the country’s digital transformation has shown no signs of slowing down over the past two years.

2. Bangladeshis are more concerned with following the digital lifestyle
Eighty-five percent of respondents in the region are concerned about developing the skills needed to keep pace with technological change. 97% of Bangladeshis surveyed are worried about this. This concern is even more pronounced among younger respondents, with 68% of Gen G respondents and 69% of Gen Y respondents expressing the greatest concern.

3. (Lack of) trust in the digital realm
The privacy and security of mobile devices in the region is also a concern (97% of Bangladeshis surveyed). Baby boomers in Bangladesh have the highest rate (71%) of admitting significant improvements in the meaning of life through the use of mobile phones. They are also the most concerned (89%) about the privacy and security risks associated with this use. Elsewhere in the region, Gen G and Millennial respondents said they were concerned about the privacy of personal information and online safety.

4. The growing role of mobile in sustainable living
Surveys show that people are optimistic about the potential of mobile technology as an enabler of more sustainable living. 74% of Bangladeshis surveyed believe that digital access is very beneficial for an eco-friendly lifestyle. 69% of Bangladeshi respondents felt that saving paper, waste and electricity and making communication more convenient would provide the greatest benefits (74%).

5. Mobile technology bridges the digital divide
The survey also mentions the greater possibility of mobile use. Respondents believe that mobile connectivity can play an important role in promoting inclusion. Mobile connectivity facilitates access to essential services such as education (64%) and healthcare (55%) for the general public.

Notably, we also found that more women than men felt that mobile connectivity had improved their employment and income opportunities. It has also helped them become more efficient and productive in their daily lives.

Jürgen C. Arentz Rostrup said mobile connectivity has become more important in our daily lives. However, the lack of appropriate skills and awareness, such as the inability to identify security and privacy issues or being disconnected, can now limit opportunities for our health, economy, and jobs. We need to know what our gaps are in the digital sector and how to fill those gaps. We also need to know the carbon footprint of our online activities. Because we’re working together to build a future where mobile connectivity is sustainable and empowering for everyone.

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