GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Europe in Brussels, Belgium focused on the key regulatory challenges and opportunities for the mobile ecosystem in Europe in order for the region to achieve digital leadership and the vision of the Gigabit Society. Presentations and panel discussions, aimed at senior decision makers across the region, highlighted the need for regulatory modernization, calling for greater collaboration between stakeholders in order to create an environment that is conducive to investment and to ensure that the vibrant mobile sector continues to flourish.
Calls for New Thinking on Regulatory Approach
Europe continues to experience innovation across all areas of the mobile ecosystem and it has an opportunity to reassert itself as a global technology leader, but there are key regulatory challenges, which need to be addressed in order for this to happen, and this need for regulatory modernization was the major theme of this year’s event. With a particular focus on two key pieces of legislation – the European Electronic Communications Code and ePrivacy regulation – in their presentations, leaders from Orange and Nokia stressed the importance of an enabling regulatory environment, legal certainty, and the need to future proof Europe now in order to capitalize on the enormous potential that the fourth industrial revolution offers. Failure to do so could see Europe move down the value chain according to Nokia’s Markus Borchert, SVP market Europe. Moreover, in his keynote speech, GSMA director general Mats Granryd called on regulators and policy makers to take decisive action to ensure that Europe remains competitive and takes a leading role in 5G.
The importance of greater policy harmonization among EU member states, particularly in relation to spectrum, was also highlighted. As Europe gears up for the 5G era, this can serve to improve the quality, reach and adoption of mobile broadband adoption, thus supporting the EU’s digital single market objectives.
Digital Technologies Driving Innovation and Addressing Social Challenges
The convergence of digital technologies continues to enable a steady flow of new services. At the event, connected and self-driving (or autonomous) vehicles formed another major theme. While connectivity is already being integrated into the majority of new vehicles, the industry faces numerous challenges in terms of regulation, innovation, and human adoption. At the panel session, the need for cooperation between the auto, tech, and telecoms industries was highlighted as a critical success factor, in order to future proof existing infrastructure to accommodate numerous connectivity use case requirements and to change investment models. While human factors are a key barrier to adoption of autonomous vehicles, the shift in the way people use mobile technology in their lives can support the development of this technology, which remains in a nascent stage.
The imperative for the tech industry to take the initiative in enabling gender equality was another major theme at the event in Brussels. In the keynote entitled Educate to innovate: Empowering women in ICT session, panelists urged the industry to raise awareness of the sector among young girls and for organizations to commit to programs, which facilitate the development of women in the industry. Moreover, such initiatives need to be more impactful and therefore should begin at the CEO level and run throughout the organization. By introducing programs with targets based on KPIs, these initiatives can start to make more of an impact in reducing the gender divide.