Nº 4 2015 > Global Symposium for Regulators
A few words with Belinda Exelby, Head of International Relations, GSMA
At GSR-15, GSMA participated in a session on mobile payments. Mobile money services have been hugely successful, particularly in the developing world. What is needed for this trend to grow and spread further?
There have been some great success stories for mobile money in Africa — Kenya and Tanzania are two good examples. But there is still a long way to go before a truly enabling regulatory environment is in place everywhere. Governments — financial regulators in particular — are instrumental. Unless they set the rules that allow mobile operators to provide mobile money services, the sector can never reach scale, and the barriers to financial services will not be breached. When the right regulatory framework is in place, mobile money services have proven to be sustainable and highly impactful.
What are the most important regulatory considerations to create digital opportunities for everyone?
Mobile is not a luxury and should not be regarded as such by governments. Mobile is a tool that societies need to solve the core problems facing their populations today. Governments share the responsibility, with industry, in enabling a digital future for all. This future is dependent on mobile broadband connectivity as well as value-added services that lift the lives of the underserved — services that can drive adoption and demonstrate transformational impact. Clearly, it is the regulatory authorities that can establish a pro-investment environment for the mobile sector — following best practice on issues such as spectrum licensing, base station siting, infrastructure sharing, etc. Meanwhile, high levels of mobile-specific taxation remain a concern in many countries, creating a deterrent to investment and increasing consumer prices. Bringing down the regulatory barriers to network deployment and affordability is essential, if we’re going to connect the next billion people by 2020.
Last but not least, what does GSR mean to you?
GSR is a great opportunity to convene everyone in one place. It provides an opportunity for industry and regulators to meet face-to-face, to understand each other’s challenges and share experiences from around the world.
GSMA was the Platinum Sponsor of the GSR-15 pre-events and GRID (Global Regulators-Industry Dialogue), and held a pre-event seminar on ’Driving Mobile’s Future: Efficient Spectrum Management for Investment and Growth’.