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$1.7 trillion to be spent on high-speed mobile broadband networks by 2020

Out-Law News | 26 Feb 2014 | 3:56 pm | 1 min. read

Telecoms companies will spend $1.7 trillion to deliver high-speed mobile broadband networks between now and 2020, the chairman of a mobile industry body has estimated.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona this week, Jon Fredrik Baksaas said such an investment would help support developments in digital commerce, the 'internet of things' and personalised services delivered via mobile devices. Baksaas is the chairman of the Global System for Mobiles Association (GSMA) and chief executive of Norwegian telecoms company Telenor.

The "accumulated investments" will also help deliver mobile services to an additional one billion people on the planet, Baksaas said. He said that although there is currently approximately seven billion mobile devices connected across the globe and approximately seven billion people living on the planet, only around half of the world's population has regular access to mobile devices.

"There is a job to do to connect the remaining parts of the planet, because the benefits of the mobile phone are going to reach everyone," Baksaas said in his speech.

The GSMA chairman added that a "collaborative model" was needed to help deliver banking and payment services, education and e-government services, among other things, across more mobile devices.

"We are about to move into a kind of inflection point here," Baksaas said. "By working together we can connect one billion more users, five billion 'internet of things' will happen, and potentially two billion of our users will put trust in how they work with and use our services. The collaborative model is needed: mobile operators, handset providers, system providers and not least service providers. This is an ecosystem that drives it all. We've seen huge effects of it already and we're here to make it continue."

Baksaas said that mobile operators are "uniquely positioned" to provide for privacy and security when delivering personalised services. He said that growing the importance and quality of personal identity could allow someone's identity itself to become the platform that consumers are willing to use to access services.

He said, in promoting digital commerce, mobile operators would have to overcome lots of regulation and challenges. However, he said that mobile operators are "the enabling platform" for advancing the potential of digital commerce.

"Here transactions and the ability to execute transactions from the mobile phone comes up as an obvious value creation at customer level," Baksaas said. He said that the 2020 networks would have "trust factors embedded" to allow consumers to be "safe and secure in what they are doing" and said that "proper authentications" would exist at both the consumer and retail side of a transaction.