LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 EUROPE, BRUSSELS: Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA (pictured), urged “decisive action” from policy makers and regulators to ensure Europe takes a leading position in 5G and “remains competitive on the world stage”.

Speaking at the event’s opening keynote, Granryd said one of the key obstacles to Europe’s mobile industry “remains the ability to scale across the continent, given the different national regulatory and legal environments”.

However, after falling behind the US and Asia with 4G, Granryd believes there is an opportunity for the region “to regain leadership, particularly as we look ahead to the 5G era”.

“We are now looking ahead to 5G and the field is wide open,” he said: “However, we see Asia already leading the way in 5G and the US is also progressing well, particularly with a harmonised regulatory environment, a large population and a relatively small field of competitors. We have a unique opportunity to regain digital leadership. 5G and IoT are just around the corner and can act as true enablers and game changers for society.”

In a speech, which also revealed statistics from the GSMA’s latest Mobile Economy report, Granryd said it was imperative for Europe to now think about how to encourage long term growth and development, create an environment conducive to investment, and ensure the expansion of next-generation digital networks and services.

“All of this will require us to think differently about how the sector is regulated,” he said.

Europe at a crossroads
Granryd said the continent required policy and regulatory reforms in a number of areas, including ways to encourage investment in future-proof infrastructure and “address the current fragmented approach in areas of spectrum”.

In addition, he urged reforms which enable operators to manage their networks to optimise performance and experience; promote collaboration across industries; expand the digital economy and consider “the changed reality of today’s converged digital marketplace and increase in consumer choice”.

The GSMA head added the European Commission’s Telecom Framework Review, which was launched in 2015, provided an opportunity “to reshape the regulatory landscape to better support a new era of digital players, services and business models, underpinned by advanced mobile broadband connectivity”.

“We are at a crossroads and we have a significant opportunity ahead of us,” Granryd concluded.