According to a report, 'Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity', produced by the GSMA Development Fund and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and published at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday. There is a 300 million subscriber gender gap that is, 300 million fewer women than men worldwide own mobile phones. Addressing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership across middle and lower-income countries could provide a valuable new revenue stream for mobile operators.
Based on ARPU calculations for mid/low-income countries, defined as those where income is less than $11,000 per annum, that upside comes in at $13 billion per year, the revenue opportunity can range from $740 million per annum in Latin America to $4 billion in East Asia. According to the report, a woman is 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man in low and middle-income countries; in Africa the figure stands at 23%, in the Middle East 24%, and in South Asia 37%.
GSMA believes applications based around education, banking, healthcare and the like will attract a global female audience. But the question remains whether women will be able to afford to own a mobile phone.