Mobile is everything Mobile is everything

Mobile is everything

Interview with Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA

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Mobile World Congress, to be held in Barcelona, 22 – 25 February 2016, is the world’s largest trade show for the mobile leaders and provides the planet’s best venue for mobile industry networking, new business opportunities and deal-making.
It is organised by GSMA annually and this year there are a lot of surprises and novelties to be unveiled, such as smartphones as well as new services and future market trends.

We have talked with Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, about the role of the GSM Association and asked him a few questions about the future trends in mobile services and the possible impacts on people’s everyday lives.


What is the GSM Association and what is its role today?

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, bringing together nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

We work with our members to drive initiatives where the mobile industry can add enormous value to the evolving digital economy, in areas such as mobile identity, connected living/Internet of Things, digital commerce and of course, next-generation networks.

To support these initiatives, the GSMA engages constructively with stakeholders to help shape regulation and secure sufficient spectrum that will enable the mobile industry to fulfill its vast potential. Through our Mobile for Development organisation we are helping our members harness the transformative power of mobile technologies to drive digital and financial inclusion for billions of men and women in underserved markets around the world.

And of course, the GSMA also convenes the industry at leading events such as the upcoming Mobile World Congress, as well as Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences. 

Do you think GSMA activities and events can have a concrete impact on people’s everyday lives, as far as technology and mobile communications are concerned?

Absolutely – while the GSMA is not a consumer-facing organisation, mobile operators and the broader mobile industry deliver services and products that have had a truly significant impact on consumers and businesses around the world.

Today it is nearly impossible to imagine our lives without mobile. Mobile has changed the way we communicate and interact. It is transforming entire industries, from automotive to healthcare to finance to utilities and beyond – you’ll see and hear about this from many companies at Mobile World Congress.

Mobile is an intrinsic element in our everyday lives. Mobile networks help us keep in touch with friends and family, stay on top of work, improve our fitness, monitor our health, manage our homes, conduct financial transactions, and so much more.

And for those in developing markets, mobile has enabled life-changing services in areas such as mobile money, healthcare, agriculture and utilities, as well as supporting citizens around the world to respond and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.

According to you, what are the future trends of mobile services?

One of the biggest trends of course will be the continued development of the Internet of Things – everything and everyone around us will be connected. You’ll see this across Mobile World Congress – wearables, connected cars, of course, but a wide range of other applications, from smart cattle and smart farming, to smart city navigation services and road weather services, to pet tracking – the opportunity is nearly endless here.

There’s huge excitement around 5G – it offers enormous potential for both consumers and industry. In addition to being considerably faster than existing technologies, 5G holds the promise of applications with high social and economic value, leading to a ‘hyper-connected society’. We see 5G being used for an array of new and exciting use cases, ranging from truly immersive internet services, groundbreaking augmented reality and low-latency remote activities, including highly advanced applications such as remote surgery. Our members are working hard to make 5G a reality, with some looking to launch service as early as 2018.

And as we move to an increasingly digital world, we face greater challenges around security and online privacy. Consumers want a secure and convenient way to access online services, but one that also ensures security and privacy of personal data. Mobile operators are uniquely suited to address this demand for digital identity. With the Mobile Connect solution, users can use their mobile phone credentials to securely and safely access digital services such as e-commerce, banking, health and entertainment. Mobile Connect has scaled rapidly and mobile operators are now making this service broadly available to subscribers across the globe.

What is the contribution of Telecom Italia and of the other telco operators to the GSM Association?

Mobile network operators, such as Telecom Italia, are at the very foundation of the GSMA, and at the very foundation of the mobile industry – without operators and the networks they have built out over the past few decades, we would not have any of the fantastic services that we all enjoy today.
Telecom Italia is an important member of the GSMA – Telecom Italia Group CEO Marco Patuano serves on our Board – and the company takes a very active role in the programmes and initiatives that we are driving on behalf of our members.