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GSMA chairman calls for new telecoms treaty

Mobile operators need new rules to reflect changing competitive landscape

GSMA chairman calls for new telecoms treaty
Operators are meeting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Current mobile regulation is based on a treaty that is over 20 years old and is in urgent need of being updated, Franco Bernabe, chairman of GSMA and CEO of Telecom Italia Group, said during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Bernabe said that a new treaty is required to help operators compete in a landscape that is completely different from the world in 1988, when the original treaty was drafted.

"The international regulation on telecommunication is based on a treaty that dates back to 1988," he said during the opening keynote session at Mobile World Congress.

"This treaty was done in a world where there was no internet, no data exchange. It created a basis for exchanging traffic, inter-operating across networks, creating the conditions for the growth of the industry in the following years, but after 25 years the treaty needs to be revised."

Bernabe said that the ITU is preparing a session in Dubai, UAE at the end of the year for the preparation of the new treaty. "I think it is of the utmost importance that the industry dedicates all the necessary attention to this treaty.

"We will frame the framework for the 25 years to come and maintain a healthy environment for our members," he said.

The treaty is particularly important given that operators will invest some EUR800 billion in the next four years while also competing with over-the-top players, according to Bernabe.

"We need to protect the business model that has generated a lot of cash flow over the years. We have to learn a lot about the way the internet operators make their business, but it is a completely different business model," he said.

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