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Headline data

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from Lao PDR statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from Lao statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other Lao-specific metadata information.


Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


5.b.1 Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.


5.b.1 Proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone

Metadata update

15 May 2021

Related indicators

Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions by sex


Ministry of Technology and Communication (MOTC)

Contact person(s)


Contact organisation unit

Statistics Division, Department of Planning and Cooperation

Contact person function

Head of Division

Contact email

Definition and concepts


The proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex is defined as the “proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex”.


An individual owns a mobile cellular telephone if he/she has a mobile cellular phone device with at least one active SIM card for personal use. It includes mobile cellular phones supplied by employers that can be used for personal reasons (to make personal calls, access the Internet, etc.) and those who have a mobile phone for personal use that is not registered under his/her name. It excludes individuals who have only active SIM card(s) and not a mobile phone device.

Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions refers to the number of subscriptions to a public mobile-telephone service that provide access to the PSTN using cellular technology.

Unit of measure

percent (%)

Data sources

Administrative data collected from telecommunications (TELCOs) companies.

Data collection method

Data are collected from all licensed mobile-cellular operators in the country, and then aggregated.

Data collection calendar

April 2021

Data release calendar

May 2021

Data providers

Licensed Mobile Operator

Data compilers



Mobile phone networks have spread rapidly over the last decade and the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions is quasi equal to the number of the people living on earth. However, not every person uses, or owns a mobile-cellular telephone. Mobile phone ownership, in particular, is important to track gender equality since the mobile phone is a personal device that, if owned and not just shared, provides women with a degree of independence and autonomy, including for professional purposes. A number of studies have highlighted the link between mobile phone ownership and empowerment, and productivity growth.

Existing data on the proportion of women owning a mobile phone suggest that less women than men own a mobile phone. This indicator highlights the importance of mobile phone ownership to track and to improve gender equality, and monitoring will help design targeted policies to overcome the gender divide. The collection of this indicator was proposed by the Task Group on Gender of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.

Comment and limitations

Only aggregate data are collected and not distinguish by sex. However, the Know Your Customer (KYC) initiative is under way to track the subscription with possibility of obtaining the required breakdown for this indicator.

Method of computation

This indicator is calculated by dividing the total number of in-scope individuals who own a mobile phone by the total number of in-scope individuals.

Data availability and disaggregation

Only total aggregated data for 2017 is available.

References and Documentation

The UNSD SDG Indicators, Metadata repository

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.