The new Director-General of the GSMA has spoken of her belief that operators must strengthen partnerships with all companies in the mobile industry if they are to remain at the forefront of a market that has seen the emergence of major new players in recent times.
In an exclusive interview with Mobile World Live, Anne Bouverot highlighted the challenges facing the mobile industry at present, particularly the operator community, and how the association aims to ensure that operators are able to maintain their value with the fast-rising profile of new, so-called over-the-top players. “I think first of all, innovation very rarely comes from only one company or one sector,” said Bouverot. “So I strongly believe in working within an ecosystem… clearly handset providers, operating systems, application providers, SIM cards – all of these players are absolutely key, and it’s very important for mobile operators to continue to partner, and actually to partner even more, with these players as we go forward.”
She continued: “It’s been an industry that has seen tremendous growth, that is continuing to see very strong growth, but a number of markets are maturing so that growth is slowing and it is becoming a bit more difficult, frankly, for operators. And there are a lot of new players in the ecosystem, a lot of new companies, new services from the world of the Internet, etc. So it’s about how operators adapt to this new environment, how they define the next wave of innovation and innovative services, and how they work together in doing that.”
Bouverot stressed the need for operators to focus on their core strengths, particularly around interoperability. “Operators have very strong assets as well, and so it’s about how you combine these things in the best possible way, and what operators have to leverage is their networks and the quality and reach of their networks. It’s the SIM cards, it’s the distribution capabilities and customer care, it’s their trusted brands; and consumers when looking at areas such as payments or things that have to do with their security or their privacy will really care about this and are caring about this more and more.”
Having started her new role in early September (moving from European operator France Telecom Orange), Bouverot is now well placed to comment on the ways in which the GSMA can ensure operators make the most of their position in the mobile value chain. She noted the association’s ongoing work in securing spectrum for mobile broadband services globally, as well as the role that operators will play in the NFC sector. “That’s really an area with a lot of potential,” she noted. Meanwhile, she touted the work the GSMA is doing in the area of connected devices (sometimes referred to as M2M or The Internet of Things): “Here the GSMA is working with mobile operators and with all of these industries in healthcare, in automotive, in utilities, in the financial sector and in the consumer electronics sector to make sure that we can facilitate the growth in this new area.”