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Help us to meet data demands or else people will be unconnected, GSMA warns governments


Mobile data demand is set to grow by more than 50 percent in major cities by 2025, the GSMA has claimed, as it made its latest plea for regulatory reform to meet consumer needs.

The trade body warned 48 percent of traffic demand will go unmet in "mega-cities" such as New York, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tokyo if the current framework remains.

In order to meet this growth in demand, caused by 5G and the Internet of Things, operators will need to treble capex and opex, which the GSMA said is not sustainable.

[Read more: NB-IoT, LTE-M spreads to 41 networks, GSMA reveals]

It made six recommendations, arguing governments need to release additional spectrum at fair prices, help operators deploy fronthaul and backhaul infrastructure, reduce site rents and aid access to public buildings, and allow network sharing.

Other recommendations included the enabling of small cell deployment through relaxed planning laws and harmonising the protection levels of citizens from any potential harmful effects of radiowaves. The latter plea was also made today (22 February) by Swisscom, which said it faces onerous regulation in this area.

John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, said: “The current global regulatory landscape has been successful in creating a competitive market that has made mobile connectivity accessible to more than five billion people around the world.

“However, unless government policies encourage investment, the network capacity required to satisfy future demand is unlikely to be achieved.

“This will result in a bad deal for consumers and businesses, particularly those in our most populous cities, and is likely to have a direct impact on these economies.

Measures such as making affordable spectrum available and relaxing planning restrictions on small cells can help foster an environment that enables operators to build mobile networks ready for the future.”

In December, the GSMA called for the European Union to reform spectrum policy to make it easier for operators to roll out 5G networks.