Part one of the Ministerial Programme

After years of ‘will they won’t they’, the metro’s decision to finally strike this year was met by collective despondency. With the promise of further strikes throughout the week it was fantastic to still see packed rooms in the Ministerial Programme.

Having successfully meandered through the lines of security checks, the strike was soon forgotten. Expectation of global mobile data traffic growth meant the importance of today’s sessions took precedence.

The recent agreement, in principal, of new mobile bands from governments has opened up huge possibilities and whilst 5G was inevitably a hot topic, 4G was agreed as having a key role going forward.

5G promises to be very different from previous technology generations by supporting a far wider set of use cases that could be truly transformative. To make the most of 5G however, bold decisions may need to be made including the requirement for a variety of different new bands. Ericsson argued additional spectrum will be vital in the lower high frequency bands – in the 6-20 GHz range – to enable launches in the early 2020s that serve as a bridge with today’s networks.

Current regulatory frameworks therefore need to be reconsidered. Innovation must be promoted whilst enabling a new ecosystem. One quirky analogy depicted regulators on a football pitch stating they must become players, promoters of digital economies and not the referee.

Connectivity is a human right

Mobile World Summit once again highlighted the awe inspiring work the mobile industry continues to do. Mobile truly impacts on people’s lives but with 4 billion still unconnected, there is a long way to go.

The recent announcement of Mobile Connect becoming available to 2 billion customers highlights the significant social impact connectivity provides. Enabling a digital identity, e-commerce services, banking, health, digital entertainment and much more, operators are fulfilling a key role by giving consumers control over their own data to interact and access online services. The question is now, how can we use this data to enhance lives further?

This question and more will be discussed in our Personal Data and Internet of Things sessions taking place tomorrow.