GSMA Mobile 360: Connecting Cities, Connecting Lives, Connecting Europe

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

Traditionally the first week of September in Brussels is the time when you see grumpy faces walking around the European Quarter thinking that the time they were lying on a beach is over for good. Most EU stakeholders did not miss their flight back and neither did the powerful network of influencers.

One of this autumn’s hot topics in the EU agenda that puts a decisive end to dreams of a summer night is the Commission’s expected draft proposal on the ‘telecoms single market’ plan. Most of us should remember the meeting in March at the EU Council where the EU members set a timeframe for the Commission’s proposal this October. Even if some of us do not recall that, the Telecom industry certainly does and came back from the summer siesta very well prepared for this.

GSMA Mobile 360 Series

It was thus in view of this long-awaited Commission’s proposal that last Friday the major players of the industry gathered to attend a stimulating conference organized by GSMA, the organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. The theme of the event, which was part of the worldwide GSMA Mobile 360 series conferences, was “Connecting Cities, Connecting Lives, Connecting Europe”.

It isn’t unusual for any sector on the eve of a big Commission proposal to organize events like that in Brussels, for the industry players to show their teeth and most of all provide the European decision-makers with useful insights and information. It goes without saying that the European Sting, as a passionate follower of evolutions and trends in digital and mobile society, accepted GSMA’s invitation to this well organized event that took place at the Square Brussels Meeting Centre last week.

The list of the attendees was large and rich, starting from Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Agenda, to Philip Lowe, Director General for energy, officials from DG CONNECT, DG ENERGY, DG MOVE as well as top executives of telecom giants like IBM and Orange. Overall the topics and issues covered were interesting and could contribute to the current dialogue between the policy makers and the industry.

The thematic pillars of the conference were the following: “Healthcare in the Connected Community”, “Energy in the Connected City”, “Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Connected Communities” and “Transport in the Connected City”. Every section was enriched with experienced panelists who offered stimulating discussions to the audience.

The Showcases

Apart from the discussions during the different sessions, the visitor had also the chance to examine quite a few showcases directly from the industry.

1) A bike tour organized from Newcastle University where cyclists equipped with cutting edge mobile technology presented a case study on how mobile technology can contribute in measuring the health living conditions of people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Partners supporting the Tour include ANT+, Dexcom, Etisalat, McCann Health, Orange and Sony Mobile.

2) Mobile World Capital Barcelona also presented its ‘International Competence Centres Programme’ that is comprised by mHealth, making high quality healthcare accessible to all incomes, and mEducation as a new way for children to receive education.

3) Deutsche Telekom and IBM demonstrated in their stand information on smart European cities using machine-2-machine based technology.

4) Telecom Italia presented SIM solutions for our mobiles using NFC (Near Field Communication), technology that will give a new approach to mHealth where the patient and the doctor can process information easily, safely and at low cost. Questions about the readiness of the European health system to support a project like this were also raised.

5) Samsung, the Korean leader in mobile technology, showcased a ‘Smart School Solution’ where learning will be fun for students and a more holistic and modern teaching process for teachers.

6) GSMA in turn demonstrated projects on mEducation and NFC SIM-based payment method that will replace soon our wallets keeping all our identity, loyalty and business cards inside our phone in digital format, maintaining at the same time the highest safety standards.

The Mobile Report

With the opportunity of the event the GSMA decided to publish the report Mobile Economy Europe 2013 that describes the importance of the mobile industry for Europe and also expresses the position of the industry in several regulatory issues. In fact, with this report the mobile sector in Europe is replying to Commission’s regulatory intentions for the single telecom market and the radio frequency spectrum. It seems however that this time the GSMA calls the attention of the regulators not without a reason.

As the relative press release goes, “the mobile ecosystem generated approximately 2.1 per cent of GDP for the European Union (EU) – including contributions to public funding of €53 billion – and directly supported 394,000 jobs in the region”. Moreover in the report it is stressed that the mobile market is being shrunk from €162 billion in 2010 to €151 billion in 2012. “Europe was long viewed as a pioneer in mobile, but, as this report illustrates, is now lagging behind other regions in the deployment of mobile broadband, particularly in 4G/LTE,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA.

Other interesting points found in the GSMA report are the lack of European investment in next-generation mobile technologies (4G/LTE) compared to the US and Korea, the need to effectively implement mobile technology to many sectors like automotive, the need for spectrum harmonization, the reduction of barriers in mergers at the sector, the encouragement of innovation “policy-wise” and the better education of the European consumer on the safe use of mobile applications.

The Mobile Dialogue

On the other hand, the European Commission aims to create a single telecom market. This will be accomplished by enforcing a single EU authorization for telecom operators that all member states will have to adopt. Thus it will be possible to override national regulators in matters like spectrum. Moreover, the protection of the consumer has a top place in the agenda of the Commission for the proposal. There will not be anymore minimum requirements indicated to the operators but rather a regulation. In this way the Commission aims to combat the phenomenon of bandwidth throttling and consequently ensure net neutrality. Another rather hot issue in the Commission’s agenda for the expected proposal is, according to Neelie Kroes, “the elimination of surcharges for international and roaming traffic not justified by underlying costs”. This call for an end of roaming charges within the EU should be enforced before the elections of the European Parliament in July 2014.

Obviously in this case the Commission intends to protect the interests of the European consumer, while the industry cares for the interests of the mobile sector in Europe. This is only fair to happen as it happens in all big regulatory debates. The Commission cannot regulate without knowing the needs of the market and the market cannot function without respecting the rules that the EU imposes. It is well expected that right before this proposal there will be an intense dialogue between the two parties. As usually, the solution lies somewhere in the middle. The question, as always though, is how to define exactly the golden cut. According to the Sting, the Commission should not regulate an inch more than what is required to have a well protected consumer and at the same time a fairly profitable market.

The GSMA event last Friday together with the report provided significant added value to this dialogue and gave useful information to the regulators, who are expected to form a proposal that will effectively protect the European consumer in the fierce mobile arena.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

3 ways firms can master the digital challenges of the 4IR

Embracing the diversity in a multicultural city of Romania

The role of medical students in promoting women’s rights

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

UN highlights importance of skills development on World Youth Skills Day

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

17 ways technology could change the world by 2025

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

Mozambique cyclones a ‘wake-up call’ to boost resistance: UN weather agency

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

Here are what UNESCO considers to be remarkable new World Heritage Sites

Coronavirus: Commission lists key steps for effective vaccination strategies and vaccines deployment

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

Pedal power makes ‘positive impact on climate’, urges UN on World Bicycle Day

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

What is the Coral Triangle?

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

This warehouse is one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Greta Thunberg at #DavosAgenda: Here’s how climate experts responded to her speech

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Deepfake democracy: Here’s how modern elections could be decided by fake news

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Trump reshapes the Middle East at the expenses of Europe

MEPs want to boost energy storage in the EU to help spur decarbonisation

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Building trust: Here’s what you need to know about The Davos Agenda 2021

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Climate change: What is COP26 and why does it matter?

Asylum: MEPs call for more solidarity among EU member states

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

Here’s how businesses can make the circular economy a reality

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is behind the wide reach of  fake news about Coronavirus?

Telemedicine in Brazilian favelas: The medicine of social isolation transforming public health

The Commission breathless behind the horsemeat scandal

COVID-19 is a threat to waste pickers. Here’s how to help them

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

4 ways to build a net-zero economy by 2050

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s