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The GSMA has published a report '˜Advancing Digital Societies in Asia' saying it underscores the role mobile connectivity is playing in building digital societies across Asia. The report urges policymakers to support the development of digital ecosystems across the region.

'Digital policy in Asia plays a crucial role in regional development, both in terms of helping define and promote forward-looking national digitization agendas and in supporting a harmonized, cross-border approach to regional issues,' said Alasdair Grant, head of Asia, GSMA. 'With this report we will be able to work even more closely with our members and regulatory partners to develop and implement policies that support national development objectives.'

The new report focuses on digital society initiatives underway in seven Asian countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore and Thailand. It assesses each market on its levels of connectivity, digital citizenship, digital lifestyle and digital commerce, and groups them into three categories: emerging, transitional and advanced.

In the emerging digital societies, Bangladesh and Pakistan, 'digitization is primarily a tool for accelerating socioeconomic development and social inclusion. The priority is the provision of essential services in areas such as healthcare, education and financial services.'

In the transition digital societies, Thailand and Indonesia, 'Digitization is focused on the personalization of services that facilitate engagement between individuals and institutions,' GSMA says. 'There is also a need for digital services to tackle the social, infrastructural and environmental issues that arise as a result of rapid urbanization.'

The advanced digital societies, Australia, Japan and Singapore, 'Having already achieved ubiquitous network access and capacity '¦ are currently focused on developing interconnected and interoperable digital technologies between sectors,' GSMA says. 'These markets are also assuming a regional leadership role in defining standards and best practice in key areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT).'

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