Director-General of GSMA, Mats Granryd has emphasized the growing importance of mobile connectivity during the Covid-19, hailing the industry as the steadying hand for society amid the pandemic.
Speaking at the Huawei Global Mobile Broandband Forum in Dubai, Granryd said “It is fair to say the importance of resilient mobile connectivity to all segments of the economy has never been clearer.”
Highlighting how powerful a platform mobile had become, Granryd reminded attendees the industry had 5.2 billion mobile subscribers and made a $4.4 trillion contribution to global GDP.
The GSMA head reiterated a rallying call around spectrum, insisting there was a need for more exclusive frequencies to be assigned to mobile operators at more reasonable prices as demand for data outpaces network expansion.
This together with 5G connectivity for enterprise verticals, development of new technology techniques such as virtualised infrastructure, open interface standards and “mix and match” vendor solutions, were all priorities to ensure leadership in the next-generation.
Granryd expressed confidence the industry would continue to invest in infrastructure, innovate applications capable of driving economies and foster strong partnerships across the vendor market to ensure new technologies are brought to market.
In Ghana, government gave free emergency spectrum to two leading mobile operators to help improve capacity to contain the data consumption load amid Covid-19.
But industry advocate, Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has said that the industry would need even more spectrum for further expansion of connectivity and quality of service improvement as demand for data keeps increasing, in spite of the free emergency spectrum.
The industry, he said, has already invested a whopping GHC3 billion (US$494.6 million) in network and systems expansion to bridge the Covid-19-driven deficit, but there is more to be done.
In South Africa, while data consumption is rising, the regulator is rather planning to take back the emergency spectrum from telcos in November this year. But two leading telcos in that country are in country seeking to stop the regulator from taking back the spectrum.
Meanwhile, an industry expert in Ghana thinks regulators need to rather be looking for new emergency spectrum in readiness for future unforeseen emergencies, instead of trying to take back what is already in use by operators now.