As more countries move to adopt digital ID programs, such efforts are attracting the interest of other players in the larger identification ecosystem.
Australia is one of the most recent examples of this, with Mastercard and Thales each taking steps to become more prominent digital ID players in the region.
The payment card network reportedly has launched a digital ID pilot program in Australia with “to develop a new system to verify a person’s identity immediately, safely and securely in both the digital and the physical world,” according to a recent report.
The pilot program will test a new way for people to prove their identity without having to carry multiple documents; instead, using owner data at the heart of the system.
The first part of the pilot included student volunteers from Deakin University testing an identity verification process for student registration and digital exams at the Burwood and Geelong campuses in Victoria.
The general idea of the program involves not only the data that resides on a person’s smartphone or other mobile devices but also uses information from that person’s financial accounts or other sources to bypass the need for what the report called a centralized identity database.
The first part of the pilot included student volunteers from Deakin University “testing an identity verification process for student registration and digital exams at the Burwood and Geelong campuses in Victoria,” the report says.
As Mastercard gears up to further test its digital ID capabilities in Australia, other news has also recently emerged that France-based Thales has won a contract from Queensland to help craft and deploy that state’s mobile driver’s license program.
In addition to digital driver licenses, Thales said the smartphone app will be designed to host a range of other digitized official documents including photo ID cards, marine licenses, vehicle registration, as well as provide access to the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ online services, the report noted.
The app will also include technology from Thales-owned Gemalto — specifically, its Digital ID Platform and Wallet technology.
In 2019, Australia’s nationwide digital identity program took a significant step forward when The Australia Post, the country’s postal service became a trusted provider of a digital proof-of-identity service under the framework administered by the federal Digital Transformation Agency, two years after introducing its Digital iD service.
The digital ID offering from Australia Post was launched in 2017, but it only recently became the second digital identity service provider to receive the trust-mark this week, with the Digital ID system joining the Commonwealth’s myGovID product, which is in a trial phase.
Not only that, but Australia Post reported it is the first organization this is not wholly within government to receive that mark from the Digital Transformation Agency.
The Australia Post is proposing a solution that puts the user in control of their identity and attributes.
Protecting citizen data
According to an earlier OpenGov Asia report, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released a report on the country’s national records and the important role the records play as the collective digital identity of the nation.
The ASPI report explains how an attack on these records could disrupt the day-to-day functioning of society and why more should be done to protect them.
These records are accurate, confidential and not to be tampered with. Living in the digital era means having these digital identity records transformed into electric data and stored virtually in cloud servers.
These servers act as the memory centre of the nation, preserving Australia’s unaltered history. All this digital information may be referred to as “digital identity assets”.
Since these are important for the government to function and are a legacy for future generations, the records are worth protecting.
They collectively embody who and what Australia is as a nation, its journey, as well as its time and place in history.
Any form of theft, manipulation, destruction, or deletion of digital identity can be problematic as courts may not function without the relevant digital records.
Moreover, manipulated property deeds can create legal challenges. Problems in verifying and issuing of passports and visas may also be encountered. Plus, historic records might be tampered with or forged.
The responsibility of protecting national records is too big and too important for the government to do alone.
Historical societies and charitable organisations may need to store hard and soft copies of the same records all over the country.
Relevant laws must mandate cybersecurity situational awareness for telecommunications companies, ISPs, computer emergency response teams, law enforcement and security agencies, but clearly and responsibly.
A legal mandate that is largely based on past incidents may not be an effective strategy to prevent dynamic hybrid threats.
The 13th Singapore-US Strategic Security Policy Dialogue (SSPD) was convened, and co-chaired by Permanent Secretary of Defence, Chan Heng Kee and United States Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Sasha Baker. This dialogue, embedded within the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement and Defence Cooperation Agreement, serves as a cornerstone for shaping the future of Singapore-US defence relations.
Beyond the traditional domains of defence, Singapore and the US are venturing into uncharted territory – cybersecurity and critical emerging technologies. This signifies a strategic shift that acknowledges the evolving nature of security threats in the digital age.
Both nations have recognised the enduring strength of their bilateral defence relationship. Singapore’s unwavering support for the U.S. regional presence, outlined in the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Regarding the U.S. use of Facilities (1990 MoU), remains a crucial pillar of their alliance. Simultaneously, the US continues to bolster the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) capabilities through overseas training and technology access. This includes the RSAF’s acquisition of the cutting-edge F-35 fighter aircraft.
The dialogue marked a significant milestone by introducing discussions on cybersecurity. In an interconnected world, where information is power, securing digital infrastructure cannot be overstated.
By engaging in collaborative efforts to enhance their cyber defences, Singapore and the US are not only safeguarding their interests but also contributing to global cybersecurity resilience. This proactive approach sets a precedent for other nations to follow suit and collectively combat cyber threats.
Also, the emphasis on critical and emerging technologies highlights the foresight of both nations. In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, advancements in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and biotechnology can tip the scales of national security.
By pooling their expertise and resources, Singapore and the US are positioning themselves at the forefront of innovation, ensuring they are well-prepared for the security challenges of the future.
The dialogue also featured discussions on regional developments and the continued engagement of the US in the Asia-Pacific region. The ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus framework serves as a platform for constructive dialogue and cooperation among ASEAN member states and their partners. Singapore and the US both recognise the significance of this framework in promoting regional stability and security.
Regular bilateral and multilateral training exercises form another vital facet of this partnership. Exercises like Tiger Balm, Pacific Griffin, Commando Sling, Red Flag, and Super Garuda Shield serve as platforms for joint training and skill development. These exercises not only enhance the operational readiness of both armed forces but also foster greater cooperation and understanding between Singapore and the US.
One noteworthy aspect of this collaboration is the US’s support for SAF’s overseas training, exemplified by Exercise Forging Sabre. This training, conducted at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, has played a pivotal role in honing the skills of RSAF personnel.
In 2023, two RSAF detachments, Peace Carvin II (F-16 fighter aircraft) and Peace Vanguard (Apache AH-64 helicopters), marked their 30th and 20th anniversaries of training in the US, respectively. These milestones are a testament to the enduring nature of the Singapore-US defence relationship.
The 13th Singapore-US Strategic Security Policy Dialogue not only reaffirmed the steadfast commitment of both nations to their long-standing defence partnership but also showcased their readiness to adapt to the evolving security landscape.
As reports cited the inclusion of cybersecurity and critical emerging technologies in the discussions reflects the forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the national interests of both nations. As they continue to train together, exchange knowledge, and invest in cutting-edge technologies, Singapore and the US are poised to navigate the complex challenges of the future, hand in hand.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi highlighted the digital dimension in the country’s counter-terrorism strategies during her recent address at the Ministerial Plenary Meeting of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) in New York.
Minister Retno emphasised the significance of comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration (R&R) efforts within Indonesia. Notably, these efforts extend beyond former terrorist inmates, encompassing strengthening communities and the environments that receive them. The focus on digital aspects of R&R is evident in Indonesia’s approach.
Indonesia has adopted a multifaceted strategy to counter extremism, as outlined in its National Action Plan for Prevention and Countering Extremism. This strategy underscores the “whole-of-government” and “whole-of-society” approaches, highlighting the collaborative roles of the government and civil society. Combining hard and soft approaches, Indonesia actively engages communities and fosters international cooperation in its counter-terrorism efforts.
The digital dimension is also prominent in Indonesia’s second pillar of counter-terrorism strategy, which aims to harness technological advancements while ensuring they are not misused for extremist purposes. The rapid evolution of technology has created opportunities for disseminating extremist ideas, demanding constant vigilance. In response, Indonesia introduced the “Pusat Pengetahuan Indonesia (I-KHub),” or the Indonesian Knowledge Hub.
I-KHub is not merely a digital repository of information but a dynamic platform that actively contributes to Indonesia’s counter-terrorism endeavours. Integrating data systems and facilitating evidence-based decision-making empowers policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and community leaders with actionable insights.
One of the critical features of I-KHub is its ability to analyse trends and patterns in extremist activities. Leveraging advanced data analytics, it can identify emerging threats and hotspots, allowing for proactive measures to be taken. This early warning system is instrumental in preventing extremist ideologies from taking hold in vulnerable communities.
Moreover, I-KHub is a collaborative space where experts, researchers, and stakeholders from various sectors can share knowledge and best practices. This collective intelligence enriches the understanding of extremist narratives and recruitment tactics and facilitates the development of effective counter-narratives.
The platform’s outreach extends to educational institutions, where it supports curriculum development aimed at countering extremism. I-KHub is vital in promoting digital literacy and critical thinking among students by providing educators with relevant resources and insights. This proactive approach helps inoculate young minds against the allure of extremist ideologies.
In the digital realm, I-KHub monitors online spaces where extremist content proliferates. It can promptly identify and report such content through advanced algorithms and data analysis. This collaborative effort with tech companies and social media platforms contributes to removing extremist material from the internet, disrupting the digital recruitment efforts of extremist groups.
The third aspect of Indonesia’s counter-terrorism strategy focuses on creating a secure environment to counter extremism. This includes digital-driven educational programmes targeting women and children. Minister Retno highlighted that extremist ideologies thrive in environments rife with hatred, emphasising the role of digital tools in promoting understanding, tolerance, and peace.
In her closing, Minister Retno expressed that GCTF member countries would firmly commit to ensuring the inclusive implementation of the R&R strategy. The Global Counter-Terrorism Forum is a vital international platform for global cooperation and information exchange on counter-terrorism and violence-based extremism.
Indonesia underscores the country’s commitment to harnessing technology for a safer and more peaceful society. Indonesia’s multifaceted counter-terrorism approach, particularly its emphasis on digital knowledge sharing through I-KHub, reflects its dedication to addressing the global challenge of extremism with modern tools and strategies.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing emphasised China’s resolve to promote high-level openness in the digital sphere at a time when global digital cooperation was at a turning point. This announcement was made during the second high-level digital conversation between China and the EU which Zhang and Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission, co-chaired.
The meeting was a big step forward in the ongoing conversation between China and the EU. They talked in depth about many important issues in the digital world. The growing field of artificial intelligence (AI), communication technology standards, the moving of data across borders, and the safety of non-food items were some of the topics that people were interested in.
These discussions had positive results, highlighting the possibility of cooperation and understanding between these two significant figures on the international scene. The recognition of China and the EU’s complementary roles in the digital sphere and their common interests was a recurring subject in the talks.
To support the expansion of the digital economy, both parties were unwavering in their resolve to cultivate a cooperative spirit, further improve exchanges, and create an environment that is open, inclusive, impartial, fair, and non-discriminatory. This concerted effort has the ability to not only spearhead the global digital transformation but also make a major contribution to the ongoing global economic recovery process.
At the heart of this cooperative spirit is Zhang’s call to businesses everywhere, particularly those in Europe, to take advantage of the growing prospects China’s digital economy offers. This invitation highlights China’s willingness to interact with other countries and signals a new era in which win-win scenarios and cooperative relationships are not only welcomed but actively pursued.
Vera emphasised the solid basis and promising future of cooperation between China and the European Union in the digital domain affirming that the EU is keen to engage in practical cooperation with China in a range of pertinent topics, to facilitate more thorough interactions, and to expand conversation. A forward-thinking strategy that crosses boundaries and capitalises on the combined strengths of nations is exemplified by the reciprocal readiness to investigate opportunities for collaboration.
This conversation has far wider implications than just the meeting space. It represents a coming together of interests and an understanding of how interwoven the world’s digital landscape is. Partnerships like these have the power to influence the course of innovation and development in an era where digital technologies drive economies, industries, and communities.
China has led the way in developing cutting-edge technology and promoting digital transformation domestically. It expands its boundaries and enhances the global digital ecosystem by reaching out to international stakeholders and offering cooperation.
On the other hand, the EU is proud of its own innovation and knowledge pools. By working together, the EU can take advantage of the vitality of the Chinese digital economy and open up new markets. This conversation also reflects a larger trend: the realisation that digital cooperation is becoming a requirement rather than just a question of choice.
In a time where digital data is growing exponentially, AI is pervasive, and technological sectors are converging more and more, countries need to work across borders to solve problems and take advantage of possibilities. The two nations are eager that they can build a more affluent and connected digital future through communication and cooperation, instead of giving in to protectionism and divisive narratives.
New South Wales (NSW) is partnering with key stakeholders, including universities and businesses, to develop an Innovation Blueprint aimed at revitalising the state’s innovation sector. The backdrop for this initiative is the stagnation in university-industry collaboration and the lack of progress in commercialising research outcomes, as highlighted by the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council. Simultaneously, R&D intensity in the region has been declining, emphasising the need for strategic interventions.
However, the government is mindful of fiscal constraints while working to restore the state’s finances and essential services. As a result, all expenditures must align with the best interests of NSW residents. The Innovation Blueprint is designed to be a collaborative effort, drawing insights from sector leaders and experts to position NSW as a global leader in attracting investments, fostering innovation, and attracting talent.
To facilitate this process, the Minister for Innovation, Science, and Technology will lead roundtable discussions on various topics, including venture capital, government support, startup growth, innovation adoption by industries, and talent attraction. These discussions will be instrumental in shaping the final blueprint.
The Innovation Blueprint cannot be overstated and has the potential to spark innovation across emerging sectors and crucial enabling technologies like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity, sensors, and robotics. These innovations are expected to have a profound impact across diverse sectors, including energy, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and agrifood, all vital for NSW’s future economic growth.
The Minister leading this initiative underscored the government’s commitment to nurturing a robust innovation sector. In his view, a thriving innovation sector not only creates high-value jobs but also enhances productivity within high-growth industries. The government believes that by fostering innovation and cutting-edge industries, it can secure the jobs of the future and attract top-tier talent to NSW.
Thus, the NSW Labor Government is working to revitalise NSW’s innovation sector through collaborative efforts with universities, businesses, and sector experts. This initiative addresses longstanding challenges in university-industry collaboration and the need to reverse declining R&D intensity.
While fiscal responsibility is paramount, the government recognises that strategic investments in innovation are essential for NSW’s long-term prosperity. Through the Innovation Blueprint, NSW aims to position itself as a global leader, attracting investments, talent, and industries that will define the future.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that the Government of Western Australia is offering over AU$3 million in grants through the Local Capability Fund (LCF) to boost local small to medium-sized businesses. These grants aim to enhance their competitiveness and capacity, making them eligible for government and private sector contracts.
This initiative aligns with the Minns Labor Government’s Innovation Blueprint in New South Wales (NSW), which seeks to drive innovation and economic growth. While the LCF focuses on empowering local businesses to secure contracts, the Innovation Blueprint in NSW takes a broader approach, promoting innovation across various sectors.
Both initiatives share the goal of fostering economic development. The LCF in Western Australia offers targeted support, including assistance for Aboriginal-owned businesses, compliance with national and international standards, and upcoming digital transformation support. These align with the Innovation Blueprint’s focus on innovation in sectors like energy, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
Collaboration is key in both efforts. Western Australia partners with local businesses, while NSW collaborates with universities, businesses, and experts. These initiatives collectively contribute to enhancing Australia’s economic landscape by empowering local businesses and driving technological advancement.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has introduced an artificial intelligence (AI)-based Chatbot for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme. Under the Scheme, Indian farmers receive income support of up to IN₹ 6,000 (US$ 72) per year. The AI Chatbot will improve the effectiveness and reach of PM-KISAN, ensuring that farmers receive timely, clear, and reliable answers to their inquiries.
The chatbot has been incorporated into the PM-KISAN grievance management system. It aims to empower farmers with a user-friendly and easily accessible platform, the government said in a press release. In its initial development phase, the AI chatbot will aid farmers in obtaining information about their application status, payment details, eligibility status, and other scheme-related updates.
Accessible via the PM KISAN mobile app, the chatbot is seamlessly integrated with Bhashini, providing multilingual support that caters to the linguistic and regional diversity of PM-KISAN beneficiaries. This incorporation of cutting-edge technology not only improves transparency but also empowers farmers by enabling them to make informed decisions, the release noted. Presently, the chatbot can be used in English, Hindi, Bengali, Odia, and Tamil. Soon, it will be accessible in 22 languages spoken in the country.
During the launch of the chatbot, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Kailash Choudhary, claimed that the initiative aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to enhance the well-being of farmers and improve governance by leveraging technology.
He suggested expanding the service to link it with other related issues like weather information, soil conditions, and bank payments. Choudhary commended the Ministry officials for swiftly onboarding the technology, highlighting its potential to streamline the workload for agricultural officials at both the central and state levels. This is the first AI chatbot integrated into a major flagship scheme of the government. In the coming months, the technology will also be deployed for other significant initiatives of the Ministry.
Launched in February 2019, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme supports the financial needs of land-holding farmers in the country. It offers an annual financial benefit of US$ 72 in three equal instalments to eligible farmers’ families through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode. Since its inception, over IN₹ 2.61 trillion (US$ 31.4 billion) has been disbursed to more than 110 million farmers so far, making it one of the largest Direct Benefit Transfer schemes globally.
India is reliant on its agricultural sector and modernising it is a pivotal step in improving the quality and reliability of its process and products. The government has launched several technology-based solutions across various segments of the sector. Earlier this month, the Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics (UPAg Portal) was launched to tackle complex governance issues in the sector. It is designed to optimise and elevate data management within the agricultural sphere, contributing to a more efficient and responsive agricultural policy framework.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the portal standardises data related to prices, production, area, yield, and trade, consolidating it in a single location. This eliminates the necessity to compile data from multiple sources. The portal can also conduct advanced analytics, providing insights into production trends, trade correlations, and consumption patterns.
It can produce granular production estimates with increased frequency, improving the government’s capacity to respond swiftly to agricultural crises. Commodity profile reports will be generated using algorithms, reducing subjectivity and providing users with comprehensive insights. Users also have the flexibility to use the portal’s data for crafting their own reports, fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making.
In an era defined by the pervasive influence of digital technologies across industries, the Government Communications Security Bureau’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has taken a significant step forward by releasing a comprehensive resource to enhance the comprehension and proficient management of cybersecurity investments. This resource is not just another document but a strategic tool tailored to guide business leaders and cybersecurity professionals towards a deeper understanding of the intricacies associated with cybersecurity investments.
As the landscape of cyber threats continues to evolve and intensify, Lisa Fong, the Deputy Director-General of GCSB and the individual tasked with overseeing NCSC, underscored the pressing need for organisations to adopt a well-structured and strategic approach to their cybersecurity investments. She emphasises the growing importance of aligning an organisation’s cybersecurity strategy with its broader goals and financial governance.
Ms Fong recognised that cybersecurity is not merely a standalone function but an integral component of an organisation’s overall strategy in this digital age. Within this strategic framework, an investment plan is a pivotal element that requires careful consideration and meticulous planning.
With the digital realm woven into the fabric of modern business operations, organisations must recognise that a robust cybersecurity strategy is no longer an option but a necessity. Ms Fong believed this resource will provide invaluable guidance for organisations looking to fortify their cybersecurity posture. It serves as a roadmap, helping organisations chart a course that aligns their cybersecurity investments with their unique organisational objectives and financial governance structures. Doing so empowers them to address the complex and ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats with greater efficiency and confidence.
As the digital landscape continues to expand at an unprecedented pace, organisations face the dual challenge of harnessing the benefits of digitalisation while concurrently navigating a rapidly evolving threat landscape. With this escalating digital transformation, the risks associated with protecting sensitive information assets and ensuring the uninterrupted operation of critical services have become more pronounced than ever before.
In light of these challenges, Lisa Fong, Deputy Director-General of GCSB and overseer of NCSC, underscored the overarching objective of effective cybersecurity investment: the seamless integration of cyber resilience into an organisation’s culture.
This vision extends beyond merely being a set of protective measures—it envisions cybersecurity as an ingrained mindset and practice, shaping how an organisation approaches its operations, decisions, and interactions in an increasingly digital world.
However, Ms Fong acknowledged that investing in cybersecurity isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavour. Instead, it is an intricately tailored process, precise to each organisation’s requirements. The multifaceted nature of cybersecurity investments, characterised by their organisation-specific complexities, underscores the need for flexibility in planning and execution. Organisations must be prepared to adapt and recalibrate their cybersecurity investment strategies to keep pace with the constantly shifting landscape of digital threats and vulnerabilities.
To facilitate this adaptability and provide organisations with a structured approach, the guidance presented by NCSC outlines a four-phase, cyclical methodology for cybersecurity investment. This approach encompasses a comprehensive understanding of the organisation’s threat landscape, formulating a strategic cybersecurity plan, the execution of initiatives, and rigorous measurement of success.
Ms Fong further emphasised that this guidance doesn’t aim to provide exhaustive, prescriptive instructions but is a valuable point of departure. It empowers organisations to initiate their cybersecurity investment journey with a robust framework, enabling them to structure their thoughts and strategies effectively. It offers a starting point, a roadmap, that can be customised to an organisation’s unique context, needs, and objectives, providing invaluable insights into cybersecurity investment.
Vietnam has started to witness the positive outcomes of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ (MIC) stringent actions against spam SIM cards, with a significant decrease in the sale of both “junk” SIM cards and ready-activated SIM cards.
Frequently, SIM card agents employ people to register a SIM card with their own information and then activate the card for resale to other users. MIC conducted working sessions with telecom carriers, urging them to cease this violation.
According to the Ministry, only by rigorously supervising the development of subscribers and implementing strict control measures, the presence of junk and unauthorised SIM cards can eventually be eradicated from the market. It had issued a policy warning that if it continued to observe the widespread sale of junk SIM cards, it would suspend mobile network operators’ development for a duration ranging from 3 to 12 months, depending on the severity of the violation.
Under the increasing scrutiny of MIC, telecommunications companies have tightened control over the distribution of SIM cards through their sales agents. According to MIC, the policy was “a “strong dose” of medicine which can cure the “chronic disease” of the telecommunication market.” It has yielded swift results, as SIM card sales agents have quickly complied with the new regulations.
An online Vietnamese newspaper affiliated with MIC conducted a small-scale survey across 20 SIM card sales agents in eight districts of Hanoi. The findings revealed that nine out of the 20 agents, constituting 45% of the surveyed agents, were still involved in the sale of “junk” and ready-activated SIM cards.
In the remaining 11 transaction points, equivalent to 55% of the surveyed agents, the owners declined to sell junk SIM cards when prospective buyers inquired about them. Some sales agents told customers that they had discontinued the sale of new SIM cards because the telecoms blocked the activation.
After surveying sales agents at the four best-known retail chains in the city, the newspaper found that all four retailers sold only authentic SIM cards with information registered by real owners. They were not selling pre-activated SIMs. Alongside the service points established by telcos, these are prestigious SIM card distribution channels supported by MIC. About 20% of total SIM cards put into circulation go through the two channels.
Furthermore, as part of MIC’s efforts to reduce the number of junk SIM cards in the market and under Decree 49 on mobile telecommunications, all SIM cards that were registered with incorrect or incomplete information were deactivated by the end of March this year.
Telecom carriers need to update procedures and regulations on registering subscribers’ information following the decree. In addition, mobile network operators are required to uphold their commitments with MIC and comply with the requests outlined in the legal documents issued by the Authority of Telecommunications (AoT).
Last month, MIC announced plans to implement additional wholesale policies aimed at establishing a more transparent legal corridor, making it easier for virtual mobile carriers to negotiate when buying traffic.
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) do not own telecommunications infrastructure but still offer mobile services by leasing infrastructure from carriers. As of August, MIC has licensed five businesses to provide virtual mobile network services in the country. VNTA statistics show that as of 30 April, there were about 2.65 million subscribers of virtual carriers in the country. This accounted for 2.1% of the total number of subscribers in the entire mobile market. To foster development, virtual carriers should identify services that genuinely enhance user experiences, such as catering to niche markets unreachable by major carriers.