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Closing the digital divide

We seek to close the digital divide to get everyone connected.


Enhancing coverage for all

Getting online is a vital part of everyday life. It is the key to unlocking the opportunities of the digital world. But 2.6 billion people are still unconnected, and many others need help to access the benefits of digital.


What we are doing

Expanding coverage to rural networks remains a key focus for us, with 25% of the EU population and 58% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa living in rural areas.

We continue to progress on our goal to bring 4G to an additional 70 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (made as part of our participation in the UN Partner2Connect digital coalition in March 2022).

This targeted intervention will help to close a particular gap in internet usage between urban and rural communities.

Since March 2022, we have added 4G technology to 1,408 sites across sub-Saharan Africa providing 13.8million additional people with 4G coverage.

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Ensuring affordable connectivity, devices and platforms

Globally, 38% of the world’s population (3 billion people) are not using mobile internet despite living in areas with mobile broadband coverage. The digital usage gap remains almost eight times the size of the coverage gap.


What we are doing

We recognise that we cannot solve this issue by ourselves and work closely with the UN and industry partners to create solutions.

There are many barriers preventing the use of mobile broadband, including lack of awareness, low digital skills and the prohibitive upfront cost of smartphones.

Given that smartphones are increasingly the main gateway to digital services, we are increasing smartphone access by lowering the cost of devices through initiatives such as our Easy2Own payment plan in South Africa and our everyone.connected campaign in the UK.

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We aim to connect 75 million customers to mobile money services and financial inclusion services by 31 March 2026


Contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN SDGs are a blueprint for human progress and a clear call to action for businesses to contribute to a better future.

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