LIVE FROM MWC19 LOS ANGELES: Orange CEO and GSMA chairman Stephane Richard (pictured) warned the risk of market fragmentation and a lack of trust in the protection of digital lives must be addressed, as the mobile industry looks to provide responsible leadership globally.

Speaking in the opening keynote, Richard noted that with 30 million employees, $2.7 trillion capex spend over 20 years and an additional $1 trillion expected from 5G, the mobile industry “has great power” which it must use to take social and environmental leadership, particularly in what he called “politically turbulent times”.

However, he said the industry must first overcome a series of immediate challenges.

Loss of trust
The first, he noted, was a loss of trust in global supply chains, which could inevitably lead to market fragmentation.

Today, Richard said the industry enjoys unparalleled economies of scale, underpinned by globally harmonised standards, 3G, 4G and 5G networks, as well as global competition on all levels from chipsets and devices to infrastructure and service provision. That environment, however, could change.

“We are facing market fragmentation. Restricting market access to key components and products will reduce the addressable market size to everyone, decrease competition and increase costs,” he said. “At the same time, those market restrictions will lead to different solutions being applied in different markets, therefore leading to technical fragmentation and threatening globally interoperable standardised solutions we have today.”

Richard also highlighted privacy and personal data, cautioning that the dominant internet model of the last 20 years “has brought a fear of exploitation and manipulation by big businesses and governments”.

He noted “lack of trust can act as a barrier to growth in economies that are increasingly data driven,” adding “different issues are arising on privacy guarantees and legal interceptions for securities, as well as protection for customers against cyber-attacks.”

Finally, Richard said a loss of trust in business’ ability to deliver across all works of society was a major challenge, and called on corporations across the world to change their approach from a pure revenue driven mindset.