GSMA wants the world to do more for operators

The trade association that represents the interests of operators has issued a call for more to be done for operators.

The catalyst for this move is the culmination of the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Argentina. The GSMA wants the world to make its collective regulatory framework more benign for operators, specifically to encourage investment, etc.

Apparently 108 of the WTO’s 164 members have made commitments to facilitate trade in telecoms services, such as the right to establish new telecoms companies, make foreign direct investment in existing companies and enable the cross-border transmission of telecoms services. But that’s not enough.

“Today, more than 5.1 billion people – about two-thirds of the world’s population – subscribe to mobile services,” said GSMA Director General Mats Granryd. “With this broad reach, the mobile industry is a major driver in the global economy, expected to employ nearly 31 million people worldwide and contribute $4.2 trillion in economic value (4.9 per cent of GDP) in 2020.

“However, the continued growth of the mobile ecosystem is far from guaranteed, particularly if we do not address the outdated and inflexible regulatory frameworks currently in place in many countries around the world. It is imperative that governments take the steps now to encourage investment in our digital future and spur digital trade.”

Here’s what the GSMA wants the world to do for operators:

  • Encourage network investment with a clear broadband development policy and an investment-friendly spectrum policy
  • Promote economic growth through harmonised international privacy and data protection rules, protecting individuals’ privacy and enabling cross-border data flows
  • Update their regulatory frameworks to reflect this new digitalised world, focusing on ex post approaches rather than ex ante prescriptive regulation, coupled with regulatory consistency throughout the ecosystem.

The world has yet to publicly respond.