Telenor CEO: Spectrum needed to satisfy national aspirations

Telenor CEO: Spectrum needed to satisfy national aspirations

11 JUN 2014

LIVE FROM MOBILE ASIA EXPO 2014: The diversity of the Asia-Pacific mobile market, ranging from underpenetrated Myanmar to the sophisticated markets of Japan and South Korea, was a feature of the Mobile Asia Expo keynote delivered by Jon Fredrik Baksaas, president and CEO of Telenor.

Baksaas, who is also chairman of the GSMA, spoke out on the national broadband plans that are an increasing feature across the region, as the politicians and business leaders zero in on the benefits of mobile broadband connectivity.

“The plans must ensure the timely availability of suitable and harmonised spectrum for mobile,” he said.

Politicians need to recognise what mobile broadband can achieve – and ensure that sufficient spectrum is set aside so operators can deliver it, he argued.

He referenced the national effort made by South Korea in the 1990s, as the government prioritised digital industries and broadband technology.  The country is now among the most sophisticated mobile-centric countries in the world.

In contrast is Myanmar, which only last year licensed Ooredoo and the Baksaas-led Telenor to invigorate its moribund mobile market – one of the least penetrated in the world.

Initially it is basic voice and SMS – delivered at competitive prices – that users in Myanmar are hungry for. In time, the market might aspire to the kind of digital commerce, connected living and mobile identity services being pioneered in countries such as South Korea, Japan and China.

Baksaas also outlined two other measures for national broadband planners. Firstly the need to keep costs down. There should be no sector-specific taxes, levies or other fees that inflate operators’ costs.

Secondly, the plans should remove barriers to infrastructure deployment, particularly in areas like electromagnetic frequency (EMF) exposure.

Finally, Baksaas pointed to the region’s role with its contribution of almost 50 per cent of the world’s connections and subscribers. And it is slated to remain the second-fastest growing region, at least until 2020.

Capex investments have been considerable – $430 billion over the last five years. This figure is set to accelerate with mobile broadband rollouts. By the end of 2020 mobile operators will invest another $730 million across the Asia-Pacific region.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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