LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – RUSSIA & CIS, MOSCOW: GSMA director general Mats Granryd (pictured) stressed the need for a regulatory framework fit for the digital age if operators in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are to usher in the era of intelligent connectivity into their markets.

Speaking at the first keynote session, Granryd said operators in the region are set to spend more than $15 billion in mobile CAPEX between now and 2020, but can only make these commitments if the regulatory framework in place is a supportive one.

“In order to ensure high-quality, sustainable investments, higher levels of certainty and consistency are essential,” he said.

Among the policies Granryd advocated were: the timely release of harmonised international spectrum alongside the “right conditions”; reformed infrastructure planning rules; a balanced tax regime; and data rules which both enable international data flow and protect consumer privacy.

Regarding data issues, he added: “We need to strike a balance that will protect consumers and ensure data privacy, while enabling the international flow of data, which will encourage the rapid growth of the digital economy. Critically, we need to end artificial distinctions based on who provides the service and ensure that the same rules apply to the same service.”

He noted all of these factors were “crucial to the development of a rich and vibrant digital economy for Russia and for CIS, and to the very future of our industry.”

Intelligent connectivity is a term promoted regularly by the GSMA and other industry figures over the last year. It covers the combination of connectivity provided by IoT technology and 5G with intelligent technologies including artificial intelligence and big data.