CEOs to regulators: stay out of the way

John C. Tanner
16 Feb 2011

Mobile industry CEOs have renewed calls for hands-off regulation, as the sector evolves towards an ecosystem driven by 4G speeds and cloud-based services.


“As 4G and the cloud proliferate, customer expectations for openness and seamless access to all services will increase,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said during the opening keynote session of the Mobile World Congress Tuesday.


Regulators should be implementing laws that encourage openness and competition, he said, citing the Amazon Kindle as a key example of where mobile broadband is going.


“When the iPad came out, Amazon pivoted and made Kindle an app,” he said. “It’s agnostic to the device, the OS and the network. That seamlessness from the cloud will transform the user experience.”


Stephenson said it was the job of operators to make the “buy once, access anywhere” model as seamless as possible for users, and it was the job of regulators to pursue public policy initiatives to enable this.


Specifically, he added during a Q&A session, “They should stay out of the way.”


“When you consider the amount of investment needed – and it’s dramatic and stretches across timelines from five to ten years – we need a predictable regulatory environment with a light touch,” he said. “That will be critical to driving all this, as well as openness across the ecosystem.”


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