We know that mobile technology has had a huge impact on the world economy and society, and now a new report seeks to quantify that impact. Mobile tech generated a value chain of $3.3 trillion in revenues in 2014, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group.

Qualcomm, one of the world’s biggest mobile chip makers, commissioned the report, dubbed “The Mobile Technology Revolution.” Companies in the mobile value chain invested $1.8 trillion in infrastructure and research and development from 2009 to 2013. Almost all of that was funding from the private sector. The report says that another $4 trillion should be invested by 2020 in order to keep the mobile revolution going.

The report is an attempt to evaluate the economic impact of mobile technology around the globe. The Boston Consulting Group examined mobile tech and its benefits in the U.S., Germany, South Korea, Brazil, China, and India. It surveyed 7,500 consumers across the six countries to quantify the value that consumers get from mobile. Mobile tech contributes more than $1.2 trillion GDP in those six countries.

Consumers in developed economies value mobile tech at more than $6,000 per year, or 12 percent of their income. In developing economies such as China and India, the value of mobile exceeds 40 percent of average income. In fact, the majority of people surveyed were willing to give up dining out or going on vacation for a year in order to keep their mobile phones. In China and Korea, a majority of users would give up a subscription to home broadband Internet access rather than go without a mobile phone.


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The report also says that the aggregate annual consumer surplus — or the benefit that consumers receive from mobile technologies over and above what they pay — amounts to $6.4 trillion. That exceeds the gross domestic product of every country in the world except the U.S. and China.

The Boston Consulting Group also surveyed 3,500 small businesses in six countries. It found that small businesses that adopt advanced mobile technologies increase revenues up to two times faster and add jobs up to eight times faster than their peers.

But the report is troubling in one sense. It says the “mobile divide” — the difference in growth between mobile leaders and laggards — is poised to increase.

In the U.S., the 3.2 percent GDP generated by mobile technologies exceeds the GDP of essential industries such as entertainment, transportation, automobile, hospitality, and agriculture.

David C. Michael, a senior partner and a coauthor of the report, said that the report shows that mobile is clearly the engine of economic growth, but much more innovation is needed. And politicians and policy makers should note that mobile requires strong infrastructure support, policies on allocating radio spectrum, and standards setting. About 90 percent of mobile device owners say they want faster speeds for mobile data access.

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