The City of the Future

Mobile technology is having a hugely transformative impact on our daily lives, fundamentally changing the way we engage with the world around us. Mobile service now extends to 95% of the global population and mobile internet users are forecast to reach 5 billion by 2025. Mobile technology continues to radically alter the manner in which we access information, how and where we work, buy goods and interact with service providers.   The pace of change in mobile technology and the impact of market forces provides policymakers a unique opportunity to shape the evolution of the digital economy.

Policy decisions fundamentally impact the development of the digital sector in any country and the GSMA is committed to engage with decision makers – governments, regulators, opinion formers – and advance policy and regulation to create this future world.  The first step to influencing the future is to imagine it and explore how actions taken today will alter the world we live in tomorrow.

The GSMA’s City of the Future web platform was born out of this need to demonstrate how policy decisions across multiple scenarios will impact the future of cities and their citizens globally. The GSMA has created a virtual world where users are presented with a number of challenges ranging from how to encourage economic development; ensure access to radio spectrum and how to change the lives of citizens for the better, among others. Through a series of questions, corresponding policy options and linked outcomes, users experience the impact of their decision-making in real time. This is virtual decision-making, with tangible outcomes and real impact.

One of the scenarios, for example, is the roll out and development of 5G networks. The user is asked what they could do to accelerate the rollout of 5G.  One option is to address the planning requirements for network deployments. If chosen, the city will change accordingly, with information provided on how this solution would affect the cost, coverage and capacity of the network. Alternatively, in the tricky world of spectrum assignment, the city allows the user to explore what could happen if spectrum is assigned to vertical industries (i.e. automotive and manufacturing) and other service providers – and how this could affect services provided over mobile networks.

This VR world launched at the MWC 2019 Ministerial Programme in Barcelona, and will be showcased at a number of GSMA events, including the GSMA Mobile 360 conference series, throughout 2019.

Getting it right, making the correct decisions, choosing the best way to deliver a digital world, will radically alter the way we live for the better.  The GSMA’s virtual city is aimed at reinforcing the role and impact that that policymakers can play in realising our digital future.

Get a sneak preview of the VR experience here:

and explore the entire city at