Device locking technology backed by Broadband Commission report on strategies towards universal smartphone access

A girl using a mobile phone to help with homework

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has backed device locking technologies, like Trustonic’s Telecoms Platform, as a crucial part of the solution for driving universal smartphone access.  

The first multi-stakeholder analysis to outline actionable recommendations for addressing smartphone access challenges, this new report, delivers a five-point action plan to guide stakeholders in tackling the digital divide, particularly in emerging markets. 

With digital connectivity deemed a ‘necessity not a luxury’ that provides critical access to information, education and opportunities that contribute to economic growth, this report highlights telling statistics, including: 

  • Around 97% of the world’s population now has access to a mobile data network, but there is a growing disparity between connectivity and adoption 
  • There is a 43% larger ‘usage’ gap than a mobile network coverage gap, which sits at just 6% across the globe 
  • If 10% more people in Africa were able to access high-speed networks, it would lead to an average of 2.5% in GDP growth 
  • Handset affordability is the top reason for not obtaining a smartphone in emerging markets. High retail costs, duties and taxes, data and charging costs are deemed as key drivers of the digital divide. 
  • Handset affordability impacts women more and is cited as the top barrier to precluding women from smartphone ownership in emerging markets 

To overcome and improve this data, the working group behind the report confirmed three key interventions to make smartphones accessible: Device Financing, Taxes and Import Duties and Improvement of Distribution Channels.   

The report cites Dion Price, CEO of Trustonic and Craige Fleischer, VP of Sales and Business Development for Europe, Middle East, and Africa [EMEA] of Trustonic, as industry experts. It also outlines the role Trustonic’s device locking platform can play in increasing smartphone access without financial risk to mobile operators

The report states: “Trustonic’s locking system sends full- screen warning messages on smartphones upon late payment and locks the device upon non-payment. An anonymous Trustonic MNO customer confirmed that smartphone delinquency reduced from 35% to 11% due to Trustonic device locks, reducing MNO risk of bad debt and device theft.  

It also attested that Trustonic locks allowed it to reduce bad debt by 70% and to recover bad debt 39% faster, reducing it from over a month to less than fifteen days, with a 70% increase in debt collection rates. With lowered commercial risk, credit application approvals increased over 100%, allowing the MNO to offer loans to more customers and broaden digital inclusion.” 

Discussing Trustonic’s inclusion in the report, Dion Price said: “A network coverage gap doesn’t drive the digital divide, but a smartphone accessibility and affordability gap does, particularly amongst the unbanked. 

This new report by the Broadband Commission effectively highlights this challenge, while enabling key stakeholders from across the telecoms industry to gain insight into viable solutions that will help increase smartphone access and reduce the digital divide.

For Trustonic to be cited as an industry expert with a proven and credible solution to device financing is an honour and effectively showcases the progress we have made in helping carriers, retailers and financiers say ‘yes’ to more and more customers worldwide. We now look forward to expanding on this progress to create positive, global change.” 

To find out more about Trustonic’s Telecoms Platform, read our latest case study on How ‘Nudge Theory’ can help improve your smartphone collection rates. Here, we explain how we use the science of ‘Nudge’ to help mobile operators reduce smartphone delinquency and bad debt by sending reminders at optimum times before payment is due. 
Not only does our data show that these steps improve customer payments by 24% without any form of human interaction, but regular ‘Nudging’ is also proven to improve customer behaviour long-term.   

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