GSMA calls for greater investment in mobile broadband

Organisation points to 'digital dividend' as opportunity to increase deployments and benefit ailing economies

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By  Roger Field in Barcelona Published  February 17, 2009

The GSM Association has called on governments to adopt policies that encourage greater investment in mobile services and networks as a means to drive economic growth.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress, a panel of industry leaders including Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, Wang Jianzhou, CEO, China Mobile, and Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO of Ericsson, stressed how the wider use of mobile broadband services can stimulate growth and help the world recover from the economic downturn.

“For mobile broadband to be a mass-market service worldwide and powerful engine of economic growth, the mobile industry needs a stable regulatory climate and access to the right spectrum on the right terms,” said Conway.

“Wherever possible, governments need to allocate the same chunks of spectrum as other countries in their region, enabling equipment manufacturers to gain economies of scale by producing mobile broadband handsets, computers and other devices that will work in many different markets.”

In particular, Conway stressed the importance of making the best possible use of digital dividend, the spectrum that will be freed up with the switchover from analogue to digital television.

The switchover will present a “once in a generation” opportunity to make efficient low frequency spectrum available for mobile broadband services, according to the GSMA, which is calling for some 25% of the 400MHz of low frequency spectrum freed up by the switchover to be used for mobile broadband networks.

Meanwhile, Wang Jianzhou, CEO, China Mobile, highlighted the benefits that mobile broadband and 3G technology can have on developing economies. He said the roll out and operation of 3G networks in China will create some 300,000 jobs. “On the one hand, 3G investments will directly boost the development of the telecom manufacturing industry. On the other hand 3G handsets and applications will drive consumer spending.”

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