Mongolia will take digital development to a new level

At Asia Tech Singapore 2022, HE Bolor-Erdene Battsengel, Secretary of State, Ministry of Digital Development and Communications, Mongolia, took the stage to share her perspective on the changing role of women in technology with d other invited panelists.

Digital governance is a key agenda for many countries. What initiatives have been implemented?

Mongolia aims to build a digital nation. In this context, a number of fundamental system and structural changes have been made. For example, to accelerate digital transformation, the former agency named Communication and Information Technology Authority was reorganized this year as the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications. The E-Mongolia platform has successfully launched an integrated e-government system. The E-Mongolia Academy was also established to develop, improve and maintain the E-Mongolia system. Basic digital governance laws, such as the Public Information Law, Digital Signature Law, Personal Data Protection Law and Cybersecurity Law, have also been approved by the Mongolian Parliament.

Mongolia set up the e-Mongolia platform a few years ago to digitize public services. Can you tell us about the evolution of this initiative and what impact has it had on the lives of Mongolians?

We introduced the E-Mongolia system for the first time on October 1, 2020. The main achievement is that today it has grown into a vast system that includes 656 departments of 61 government organizations. In total, more than 12 million services have been provided online through this system. The system currently has 1.3 million users. This means that a third of the adult population uses the E-Mongolia platform. A total of 656 most requested utilities can be obtained from this system, from driving license application to passport application. Features such as offering services based on customer behavior have recently been added.

Mongolia is a vast country and one of the least densely populated in the world. Can you tell us how this has been a challenge for 5G adoption and what the 5G journey looks like so far?

Our country has approved a policy to introduce 5G networks in 2020. In 2021, 5G pilot tests were successfully conducted twice. This year, the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications and the Communications Regulatory Commission are preparing spectrum management for the introduction of 5G in Mongolia. In addition, mobile operators are preparing to invest in 5G. It has also successfully completed a 5G readiness assessment with the support of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Our country has a vast territory and a sparsely populated region. This situation poses the greatest challenge when building a 5G network. In other words, the investment to establish a 5G network will require a lot. Additionally, 5G requires more robust fiber optic infrastructure. The next big challenge is a small but highly competitive market. For example, Mongolia has more than 3 million citizens served by 5 mobile operators.

What are the current projects for the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications of Mongolia?

As I mentioned, our country aims to become a digital nation. The government has announced that information technology is one of the priorities of the economy. The Ministry of Development has been set up within the government and the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Innovation and Digital Development has been created. Our ministry has also approved a digital nation strategy. The strategy has six sub-objectives: digital infrastructure, e-governance, cybersecurity, digital culture and inclusion, innovation and production, and national development accelerator.

As I said before, we have passed laws to accelerate the digital development of the nation to a new level. The focus will be on implementing these laws and approving compliance regulations.

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