Transformation of the digital world and future networks discussed in Bogotá at Mobile 360 Latin America

Start: Tuesday 7 November 2017

End: Tuesday 7 November 2017

“Mobile is transforming industries in the fourth industrial revolution, driving economic growth, innovation and the creation of new economic opportunities across Latin America,” said GSMA’s Chief Marketing Officer Michael O’Hara during his opening speech at Mobile 360 – Latin America. The regional event, held in Bogotá from 31 October to 2 November, brought together the leaders of the Latin American and global digital ecosystem, with more than 800 participants from 32 countries, 43 per cent of them C-level, directors and senior managers.

The first keynote of the event was given by Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos, who provided an overview of the state of the regional mobile industry and its future needs. “In the digital economy, the key good produced is the bit, but bits are useless unless they can travel through high capacity networks. In Latin America we cannot enjoy the benefits of the digital economy without an environment that encourages investment and the construction of the digital highways we need,” Millicom’s CEO said.

Sebastián Cabello, Head of GSMA Latin America, moderated a discussion panel with Luis Malvido, Executive Director of Telefónica Hispanoamérica, Paulo César Teixeira, CEO of Claro Brazil, and Jorge Castellanos, President of ETB. During the panel, Malvido said that data is the new commodity and “the challenge is to create new operational and financial models to develop the new networks”. In his opinion, this can be achieved only if operators collaborate with each other and with governments.

Internet of Things and 5G are future of mobile industry

5G coverage in Latin America will begin to expand rapidly by the middle of the next decade to reach just under 50 per cent by 2025, GSMA Intelligence predicts in the report The Mobile Economy Latin America 2017, launched during the event. Latin American operators are targeting 5G leadership and this was one of the key discussion topics at Mobile 360 Latin America. Marcelo Cataldo, President of TigoUne, admitted that commercial launches of 5G are still “far away” but the technology is very much on the company’s agenda and it is planning to launch 5G trials in the next two weeks so it can understand the challenges it will face when trying to evolve its network.

Internet of Things was another key topic of the event, with a panel on “Mobile IoT Networks and Use Cases” that included executives from Frost & Sullivan, Azlogica, HP Enterprise, Nokia, Telefónica and Claro Colombia. “In IoT, the role of operators spreads beyond connectivity and we are focusing on being throughout the value chain, being facilitators of this ecosystem,” explained Flor Tolosa, Director of M2M/IoT Development and Advertising at Telefónica Colombia.

But to make this future of 5G and Internet of Things a reality in the region, harmonised spectrum must be available on reasonable terms. This issue was addressed by the Spectrum and Policy Forum, where presentations were made by Martha Suárez, Director of the Colombian National Spectrum Agency; Santiago Pardo, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, América Móvil; Alejandro Quiroga López, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Director, Telecom Argentina; Franklin Merchan Calderon, Chair of PCCII, CITEL; and José Luis Ayala, Head of Government and Industry Relations for Latin America, Ericsson.

The contribution of the mobile ecosystem to the Sustainable Development Goals

Daniel Quintero, Vice Minister of Information Technologies and Communication, Colombia, said that new technologies are the key to delivering social benefits across Latin America and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The session on how to implement the SDGs in Latin America included a conversation between Rachel Samrén, EVP Chief External Affairs Officer, Millicom, and Marcelo Ber, Child Rights and Business Focal Point, UNICEF Latin America, about how technology is helping to protect children’s online rights. Mobile 360 Latin America also included a seminar on the mobile ecosystem contribution to the SDGs, with presentations by the heads of corporate social responsibility at TigoUne, Telefónica Movistar Colombia and Claro Colombia and participation of specialists from the Red Cross, South Pole Group, UNICEF, Google, Belmont, World Remit and other organisations.

Meeting of Working Groups of mobile industry experts

As part of Mobile 360 Latin America, the meetings of the four GSMA Latin America Working Groups were held, led by experts from regional mobile operators: Regulatory (REGU), Security and Fraud (SEGF), Technical and Terminals (TECT) and Wholesale Agreements and Solutions Latam Group (WASL). Participants analysed, discussed and exchanged good practice in various technical, regulatory and commercial aspects of the industry.