Smartphone Access

Working Group Co-Chaired by:

Mr. Nick Read
Vodafone Group
Mr. Houlin Zhao


Accelerated use of digital public services during the pandemic, mobile money, and the need for digital skills for jobs has made mobile internet access through a smartphone more important than ever.

The Broadband Commission Working Group on Smartphone Access will produce a report and set of concrete recommendations including:

  • Original analysis and data on the smartphone access gap;
  • Quantification of the social and economic impact of providing everyone with smartphone access by 2030, including assessment of moving users from 2G feature phones to 4G smartphones; and
  • Analysis of initiatives or pilots designed to increase smartphone access. Vodafone Group has committed to launch two pilot projects on device affordability as part of this process.

Vodafone is honoured to be part of this monumental global initiative with the UN, to improve the lives of billions of people through smartphone access. As our societies become more digital, everyone should have the ability to find jobs, be able to get public services, financial services and critical information that are increasingly only available through the internet. This is such a complex challenge that no network operator, device manufacturer, financial services provider or national government can solve on their own – but working together we can break through the barriers.

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group

The Group was launched during the Broadband Commission Virtual Annual Fall Meeting in September 2021


Broadband Commissioners

  1. Mr. Houlin Zhao, ITU
  2. Mr. Nick Read, Vodafone Group
  4. Mr. Lacina Koné, Smart Africa
  5. Mr. Mats Granryd, GSMA
  6. H.E. Ursula Owusu-Ekufu. Ghana
  7. Mr. Adrian Lovett, World Wide Web Foundation
  8. Dr. Carlos Jarque, America Movil
  9. H.E. Aurélie Adam-Soule Zoumarou, Benin
  10. Dato Lee Yee Cheong
  11. Mr. Stephen Spengler, Intelsat
  12. Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC
  13. Dr. Qu Dongyu, FAO
  14. Mr. Mauricio Ramos, Millicom

External Experts

  1. Safaricom
  2. Vodacom Group
  3. TBA