Mobile World Congress 2011: Looking forward to stimulating policy debate on mobile broadband

Today, we have the pleasure to welcome Tom Phillips, the GSMA Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs, as a special guest in Telefónica Public Policy Blog. Tom presents to us the main topics that will be discussed around mobile broadband policy issues during the Mobile World Congress 2011 this week in Barcelona.


"This year a staggering 130 country delegations are coming to Barcelona to join the discussions on policy issues relating to mobile broadband. I can’t think of a much better indication of the recognition in all parts of the world that private and public sector dialogue is critical if we are to achieve our common goal of digital inclusion for all.



Writing this post on the eve of the Mobile World Congress, I’m excited about this year’s Ministerial Programme. From humble beginnings at launch in 2005, when 15 countries participated, the programme has grown colossally. This year a staggering 130 delegations are coming to Barcelona to join  discussions on policy relating to mobile broadband. I can’t think of a better indication of the global recognition that private and public sector dialogue is critical to achieve the common goal of digital inclusion for all.



Certainly, after a decade of investment and innovation, the mobile industry is now really delivering on its promise to put the Internet in the palms of people’s hands. Over 400 million people use smartphones, and as prices keep falling and coverage keeps spreading, this number will keep increasing. Inevitably, this will affect the way mobile is regulated, not least because it’s becoming harder and harder to draw clear lines between the mobile, fixed and content ecosystems. And as more people start to use services and apps that harness location data, we all need to be sure that they keep control over their privacy and security.



The majority of the world’s population will experience the Internet for the first time on a mobile phone, just as they experienced their first voice call over mobile networks. There’s much that policymakers in these countries can do to speed up access to the Internet, such as allocating the right spectrum, and encouraging innovative mobile money services.



Mobile connectivity is also changing the way people interact with machines. Mobile networks are being used to bring connectivity to millions of health monitors, energy meters, vehicles and industrial sensors, making them networked, smarter and more efficient.



So once again, 20 years after the GSM revolution began, mobile is poised to radically change the world for the better. But if all the potential out there is to be realised, competition - rather than restrictive regulation - must be the policymakers’ watchword.



We’re looking forward to some stimulating debate on these issues in the next few days, with every one of our 130 guest delegations."


Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA.


Natalia Moreno Rigollot/ @pitirrojo

Public Policy Manager of Telefónica