As I write this blog, our industry has just celebrated a major milestone. Last week, we signed on our 5 billionth subscriber. 5 billion mobile subscribers – that is pretty incredible, especially when you consider that we hit the 1 billion subscriber mark just over a decade ago, in 2003. We are reaching into all corners of the world, helping to improve people’s lives through a range of services, such as health, education, agriculture and others, and providing access to economic and social opportunities that may otherwise be out of their reach.
This 5 billionth subscriber milestone means that two-thirds of the global population is now connected to a mobile service – a tremendous achievement for the industry – and a critical element in delivering initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The mobile industry is firmly committed to supporting the SDGs and operators are already delivering innovative solutions and strategies to address today’s biggest global challenges, from machine-to-machine technology that monitors utility usage to save energy and combat climate change, to providing agricultural information for farmers to improve their crops, and many, many more.
But alongside success, we must be mindful of the challenges ahead. With the rapid evolution of technology, societies must keep pace and adapt. We need to ensure there is sufficient capacity and spectrum to continue to deliver a connected global society, and we need to create an environment to foster innovation and investment. This means continuing to engage in discussion with regulators, governments and industry organisations to enable the broadband that connects nearly everything in our lives. And we will undoubtedly continue these discussions at the upcoming Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017
It’s little more than a week until the beginning of the show and we’re looking forward to hosting our biggest Asia event ever. Mobile World Congress Shanghai will showcase the impact of mobile in all areas of our lives, such as sports, home and fitness, entertainment, learning and beyond. It’s going to be a real opportunity to see mobile technology come to life with the latest devices, gadgets and experiences at the show – there’ll be a drone racing competition, AR, VR and mobile gaming, and much more.
The show has been expanded to four days and now spans seven halls at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre. Of course, a highlight will again be the GSMA Innovation City in Hall W3 – while you’re there, make sure to check out all the amazing technologies being shown by the GSMA and Innovation City partners. And if you’re not yet a member of the GSMA, swing by the GSMA pavilion to learn more about the benefits of membership – we’d love to meet you.
You also won’t want to miss the conference programme that we’ve put together for you – it incorporates keynote sessions with leaders from organisations such as Bharti Enterprises, China Mobile, China Unicom, KDDI, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Qualcomm and Yingtan City, among others. Across three days, we’ll also offer 12 focused summits that will explore the latest industry trends, from connected cars to network evolution to augmented reality/virtual reality and more. With over 90 C-level speakers and equivalents, there should be some fascinating conversations over the course of the event – make sure you’re a part of the dialogue
I hope to meet many of you in Shanghai – we are looking forward to a fantastic week, celebrating the innovation, the opportunities and the excitement that are the hallmarks of the Asia mobile industry!