By Saleha Riaz

GSMA chief sees need for “digital age” regulators

Operators across Asia Pacific are forecast to invest nearly $190 billion in mobile capex between now and 2020, but this will only be possible if there is a regulatory framework “fit for the digital age”, said GSMA director general Mats Granryd at the opening keynote of Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

Granryd stressed the importance of the timely release of harmonised spectrum with the right conditions; policies that facilitate the deployment of next-generation network infrastructure; the application of the same rules for equivalent digital services; and the need to determine appropriate privacy and data protection rules.

“All of these are crucial to the development of a rich and vibrant digital economy and to the very future of our industry,” he said.

He also commented on how going forward 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) “will be setting the stage for our mobile future”.

He pointed out that network slicing is a key 5G technology for delivering smart capabilities to enterprises and that operators will be able to create multiple virtual networks, addressing different market segments and use cases, all on a single 5G network infrastructure.

As for AI, he said it is being used for virtual agents and chatbots on the web, in apps and on messaging platforms such as Rich Communications Services (RCS).

“With RCS, consumers can interact with all of their brands in one place – they can deal with airlines, railways, taxis, restaurants, banks and many, many other businesses at their convenience. There’s no need to download multiple apps to do this – RCS is a single, common platform, based on the biggest messaging app in the world – namely, SMS,” he stated.

“To be truly life-changing, artificial intelligence requires hyper-connectivity, offering ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency. These two mega trends, combined, are ushering in a new era for our industry – an era of intelligent connectivity,” he added.