The global economy may be limping towards the shores of recovery, but the United Nations (UN) predicts that new approaches to regulating information and communication technology (ICT) could help to stimulate investment and growth by rolling out new networks and upgrading technology.
According to a report from the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Trends in Telecommunications Reform, demand for services such as mobile telephones and broadband internet have remained buoyant, despite the economic crisis, with mobile subscriptions set to exceed six billion this year.
“The industry is currently undergoing a generational shift from fixed telephones networks to mobile connections of all types, next generation networking and broadband wireless networks,” says the report.
Previously clear borders among telephones, broadcasting and online services are being eroded, with people able to watch movies on their computers and programming being downloaded on mobile phones.
Hamadoun Toure, the ITU’s Secretary-General, was reported as saying ICT regulators play a key role in fostering ongoing innovation and competition, “enabling operators to adopt the latest, most powerful technologies and ensuring consumers enjoy the very best range of services at the lowest possible prices”.
Toure admits the economic crisis has sounded the alarm for the need for effective regulation, “and the need for dialogue on the role of Government, which is now considering the need for State intervention to ensure, among other elements, the development of a ‘broadband economy’.”
Furthermore, the report argues that regulators and policy-makers can tackle the potential risk for under-investment in tomorrow’s networks through a two-pronged approach that involves Government-backed funding programmes and effective regulatory strategies and policies.
The role of the telecoms industry in global economic growth is no doubt one of the issues that will be on the agenda at the Next Generation Telecoms MENA Summit 2011, which takes place from 31 October to 2 November at The Meydan Hotel, Jumeirah, Dubai. This closed-door summit, hosted by GDS International, features some of the leading voices in the MENA telecoms sector.
Along with telecoms regulation, other key topics for discussion include maximising mobile broadband profitability, the telco cloud opportunity and mobile payments.
Next Generation Telecoms MENA Summit 2011 is an exclusive C-level event reserved for 100 participants that includes expert workshops, facilitated roundtables, peer-to-peer networks and co-ordinated meetings.