The future of mobile depends on mobile operators having timely and reasonable access to the necessary spectrum resource. Estimates of mobile data demand have always proven too conservative. Data growth by 2010 had exceeded earlier ITU forecasts by over five times. Today there are more than 1.7 billion IMT connections around the world, and by 2015 this number will more than double to over 3.6 billion as mobile technology grows exponentially.
Mobile connectivity is also a key driver of economic improvement – the World Bank estimates that a ten per cent increase in Mobile Broadband penetration can boost GDP by 0.6 per cent in developed countries, 0.81 per cent in developing countries, and as much as 1.4 per cent in some low income countries. The GSMA and its members will continue to work with governments and regulators around the world to foster an environment that supports the social and economic growth that Mobile Broadband connectivity enables.
'The mobile industry cannot run without spectrum. Next generation internet access depends on it,' said Enrique Blanco, Global CTO, Telefonica. 'The more spectrum that is released the wider the coverage, the richer the services and the more cost effective the networks can become to the benefit of our customers.'
Sanjay Kapoor, CEO for India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel, said: 'As seen the world over, the data revolution will play a pivotal role in driving fundamental societal changes – especially in India. India is already the third largest Internet market in the world with more than 100 million users, and has the second largest Facebook user base worldwide with 44 million subscribers. Given the continuing increase in demand for data, we need more spectrum to meet the needs of our customers now and in the future. Alongside the GSMA, we are happy to work with industry leaders and government to overcome the spectrum challenge and enable the future growth of Mobile Broadband services for the benefit of consumers in India.'
Telstra supports the future agenda item to identify additional spectrum for mobile broadband and looks forward to working with the Australian government and industry on this important matter, said Mike Wright, executive director, networks and access technologies, Telstra. 'As an industry we are moving to more efficient technologies and refarming our existing spectrum assets in order to make more effective use of the spectrum we have. Additional spectrum will be essential to meet demand for data and given the long lead time it takes to introduce new spectrum bands it is important for the industry to be working on this now.'
International spectrum allocations are made only in the context of WRC meetings – treaty negotiations – that take place every three to four years.
The GSMA has announced that governments representing more than 150 countries attending the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12) in Geneva have recognised the critical role that spectrum plays in bringing the enabling power of mobile broadband to citizens globally.
Following this recognition, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has committed to identifying additional spectrum requirements for the deployment of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) mobile broadband globally, ensuring that future spectrum allocation is on the agenda at WRC-15.
IMT is a family of technology standards as defined only by the ITU. Technologies compliant under IMT include: EDGE, CDMA2000, UMTS (WCDMA, TD-CDMA, TD-SCDMA), DECT, WiMAX and LTE.
WRC-12 today adopted an agenda item calling on WRC-15 to secure additional spectrum for IMT, a family of mobile standards defined by the ITU. Under the leadership of Chairman Tariq Al Awadhi, delegates from around the world affirmed their commitment to ensuring that citizens have ready access to the resources and tools they will need to live and work in the twenty-first century. The ITU will soon launch an intensive multi-year work programme to study options for additional IMT spectrum that will be presented and discussed at WRC-15.
'The GSMA is extremely pleased that many countries have recognised the need to secure the future of Mobile Broadband and along with our members we stand committed to the success of the ITU's work,' said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. 'By taking action now to secure more spectrum, mobile operators will be better positioned to meet the mobile data needs of billions of consumers well into the future. We look forward to working with governments and regulators over the next three years to identify the spectrum needed to deliver the vision of providing low cost, ubiquitous broadband all over the world.'