After finally confirming Samsung as an executive board member, Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) president Joe Barrett insisted Apple, too, would benefit from participating in such industry associations and forums.
Apple, renowned for its secrecy, would be a “great addition” to the GSA, Barrett told Mobile World Live.
He named Apple and SoftBank-owned ARM as examples of two companies which stayed away from such associations and forums, which he believes could be a mistake.
“We are tracking technology and we are showing which technologies and where they can be successful, as well as promoting the strategy of our members. Some of the views of companies like Apple are not being reflected in messaging, and that messaging could be strengthened with the views of some of the larger companies in the industry.”
Samsung joins GSA board
Barrett’s comments follow news, announced today, the GSA has secured Apple’s biggest smartphone rival Samsung as an executive board member.
Barrett said GSA had been talking to Samsung for a long time before sealing the deal because “they weren’t that clear of the benefit of joining GSA and what the value was”.
GSA, which was established 20 years ago, represents companies across the mobile ecosystem supplying infrastructure, semiconductors, test equipment, devices, applications and mobile support services.
Barrett said after he was named as president two years ago, it was within his remit to “communicate strongly the value the GSA brings to the whole industry”, and push the fact that the association promotes the entire 3GPP roadmap.
For Samsung, one of the major pulls was participating in GSA’s spectrum group, a vendor focussed initiative promoting spectrum harmonisation across the world.
Barrett said the spectrum group communicates different requirements to different regulators across the world, with an eye, obviously, on the development and launch of 5G.
“One of the catalysts has been bringing on board and establishing the spectrum group within the GSA, and that’s been very well received by the industry,” he said.
“It is operating across all different regions and there are close to 50 people working in the standards and regulatory area within the group. I think Samsung saw that as an area that they wanted to participate in.”
Barrett added vendors felt the need for their own separate focussed group, given operators were already covered in this area by a similar focussed group run by industry body GSMA (it’s worth noting the GSMA also has an Associate Membership category which is supported by vendors).
After securing Samsung on its board, which also includes major names Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Intel, Barrett said the next phase for GSA lies in attracting smaller companies to its association.
Barrett said membership for certain small companies could be as little as £95 for the year and it was seeing new SMEs emerging all the time, particularly in the IoT segment.