Metaverse Readiness Index

RIS has just launched the Metaverse Readiness Index (MRI)! Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) will require massive increases in computational efficiency and is collectively known as the metaverse. The metaverse requires fast, symmetrical broadband, low latency in a secure way and at an affordable price. We’re excited about the MRI because it measures the gap between the current state of Internet access and a metaverse-ready future. The MRI will be an average of the 4 sub-indices. However, countries are excluded if there is missing data in one of the 4 sub-indices.

The MRI is designed to be aspirational, where 100% reflects fast symmetrical broadband with low latency that is affordable and safe to use. The regional averages provide a guide to how far Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, the Pacific and South and South-East Asia are from these targets. Low average values for a region or a country means that the majority of the population do not have suitable Internet access for metaverse-type applications.

RIS has adopted a technologically neutral approach to the MRI. The MRI has four components: two are related to network performance and the other two are affordability and cyber security. Cybersecurity and affordability are necessary conditions for the metaverse to be widely adopted, for a wide range of applications, and to stimulate economic growth. The components of the MRI are:

Fast Internet: It is measured in upload speeds for mobile and fixed measurements. Upload speeds are a better indicator than download speeds because as networks move to 5G, there will be more communication from the edge to the core of the network, requiring better symmetry between upload and download speeds. AT&T, for example, thinks that demand for symmetrical broadband is only going to grow.  Measuring the Internet speed by upload captures symmetry since uploads have to catch up to download speeds. Average upload speeds of 100 Mbps or more score 100%, and below 10 Mbps score 0%. Values in between are evenly spaced.

Low Latency: Latency is grouped into 11 categories, with a score of 100% if a country has a latency of 5 ms or lower and a score of 0% if the average latency is more than 50 ms. 5 ms was used rather than the 10 ms to give countries that have already achieved 10 ms a target. Values in between are evenly spaced.

Affordability: It is measured as the the lowest cost of 20 GB valid for a month for prepaid customers in a country divided by the Gross National Income per capita per month (GNICM). Countries where 20 GB cost less than 1% of GNICM will score 100%. Countries where 20 GB prepaid cost more than 5% of GNI per capita per month will score 0%. Values in between are evenly spaced. 

Cybersecurity: It is measured using the National Cyber Security Index (NCSI). It is a global live index, which measures the preparedness of countries to prevent cyber threats and manage cyber incidents. The maximum score according to the NCSI is 100 and will be expressed in percent, like the other components of the MRI.

Other news from around Africa 
  • Nigeria telecom tax: The National Health Insurance Act of 2022 was signed into law this week and includes a Health Insurance Levy. Initial reports were that the levy would be paid by the addition of a 1 kobo tax per second on all voice calls. However, the National Health Insurance Agency denies that this is the case but refuses to say how the Levy would be paid. The Act is only gazetted in a few weeks time and will be made public then.
  • 3rd MNO for Malawi? Nyasa Mobile could be the 3rd mobile operator in Malawi, though reports are unconfirmed. 
  • Rwanda mobile money interoperability: The country’s two main mobile money providers are now able to send money across networks at no cost. 
  • Digitising Africa’s customs and borders: A new Deloitte report released by the WEF says that digitizing customs and borders could improve trade by 50% by 2030. RIS has made similar points in work for the African Union, showing that simple improvements in digital legislation would have outsize benefits for the continent.