GSMA urges WTO members to reform telco regulations

14 Dec 2017

To coincide with the World Trade Organization meeting this week, the GSMA has urged member states to reform their regulatory frameworks to encourage innovation and investment in digital infrastructure and services.

According to the industry body, only 65% of the WTO's 164 member states have made commitments to facilitate trade in telecoms services.

Such commitments include the right to establish new telecoms companies, allow foreign direct investment in existing companies and enable the cross-border transmission of telecoms services.

On behalf of the global mobile ecosystem, the GSMA is urging all WTO members to take additional steps to transform national rules and regulations.

The GSMA is asking members to encourage network investment by formulating a clear broadband development policy and an investment-friendly spectrum policy, develop internationally harmonized privacy and data protection rules enabling cross-border data flows and update their regulatory frameworks for a digitalized world.

“Today, more than 5.1 billion people – about two-thirds of the world’s population – subscribe to mobile services. With this broad reach, the mobile industry is a major driver in the global economy, expected to employ nearly 31 million people worldwide and contribute $4.2 trillion in economic value (4.9% GDP) in 2020,” GSMA director general Mats Granryd said.

“However, the continued growth of the mobile ecosystem is far from guaranteed, particularly if we do not address the outdated and inflexible regulatory frameworks currently in place in many countries around the world. It is imperative that governments take the steps now to encourage investment in our digital future and spur digital trade.”

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