By Michael Carroll

GSMA chief hails impact of 5G, mobile tech

LIVE FROM MWC19 SHANGHAI: GSMA director general Mats Granryd (pictured) moved the technology talk forward, discussing the use cases 5G is already beginning to deliver, along with the broader societal benefits offered by all generations of mobile.

In the opening keynote, Granryd noted MWC19 Shanghai is the association’s first to be fully 5G enabled, with a host of demonstrations of how the technology is already delivering on the GSMA’s vision of Intelligent Connectivity.

Demonstrations ranging from remote surgery through to AR-enhanced experiences of watching sport highlight some of the possibilities opened up by 5G.

Granryd explained mobile technology is already “at the heart of global industry, but we have the opportunity to be its soul too,” by building “a better future for everyone”. Doing so requires the adoption of leading positions in technology, security and trust, and society, along with “our collective contribution to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals”.

To emphasise his point, Granryd noted the mobile industry today employs a total of 32 million people directly and indirectly, generating $3.9 trillion in economic value. “Today, two-thirds of the world’s population subscribes to a mobile service,” he noted.


While a focus on leading the way in the areas outlined above clearly makes financial sense, Granryd said Intelligent Connectivity is about more than short-term gains for the industry, governments and regulators. He fired a shot across the bows of the latter, urging them to ensure sufficient spectrum is made available to operators at prices which doesn’t saddle them with huge debt and so limit their ability to actually deploy 5G networks.

“If you want to see best practice when it comes to government allocation of spectrum and 5G licences, look at China”, Granryd said, referencing a recent move which has already paved the way for a massive investment plan by China Mobile.

Other key factors include allowing operator consolidation to enable investment while maintaining competition; levelling the playing field between operators and internet companies in terms of rules and regulations; and harmonised international data privacy rules, he said.

Such actions will enable operators to unlock innovations in healthcare, smart cities, industry and supply chains. “It will bring breakthroughs in tackling dementia, loneliness and other mental health-related issues,” he explained, citing the potential for visits to relatives to be made via holograms.

Education will also be revolutionised, with vocational training in fields including mechanics, plumbing and medicine taking place across vast distances.

Granryd envisaged a world where AI moves beyond current smart speakers to become a system which truly knows our individual tastes and needs, for example around everyday healthcare.

AI will converge with the IoT, enabling smart city innovations in homes and offices.

Such innovation will “drive efficiency, productivity and help us use finite resources more effectively”, he argued.