GSMA announces Grand Tour cycle ride from Brussels to Barcelona to raise awareness of diabetes and to highlight the benefits of mHealth

Call for Team Entries for 2,100 Kilometre Tour; GSMA Launches mDiabetes Campaign to Drive the Development and Delivery of mDiabetes Solutions

28 November 2012, Brussels: The GSMA today announced the mHealth Grand Tour cycle ride, which will start in Brussels on the 5th September and finish in Barcelona on the 18th September 2013. The Grand Tour will bring together diabetes patient communities and the mobile and healthcare industries to raise awareness of diabetes and to promote healthy and active living, and showcase how mobile technology can help address the challenge of managing the condition and reduce the cost of care. In conjunction with this announcement, the GSMA also launched its mDiabetes campaign, which will explore how mHealth can support and transform diabetes treatment.

“In Europe, more than 55 million people, or 8.5 per cent of the population, live with diabetes and it is recognised as the number one cause of death across the region,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The mHealth Grand Tour will help build visibility of this public health crisis, as well as demonstrate how innovative mobile-based solutions can help people address diabetes and related conditions and liberate them to lead active lifestyles. It will also be a tremendously exciting experience and we are encouraging as many teams as possible to take part.”

For the mHealth Grand Tour, the GSMA will partner with the International Diabetes Federation European Region (IDF Europe), an umbrella organisation that promotes diabetes care, prevention and research, and advocates for the rights of the 55 million people living with the condition in Europe. “Through this Grand Tour we want to raise awareness for diabetes, which affects an increasing number of citizens across Europe and worldwide. We also want to show how essential healthy lifestyles and physical activity are in diabetes prevention and management,” commented João Nabais, President of IDF Europe.

The 14-day Grand Tour will cover 2,100 kilometres over four stages, with more than 22,000 metres of climbs, incorporating breath-taking scenery and quiet country roads. In the spirit of Europe’s Grand Tours, the route will take riders through places of interest across Belgium, France and Spain, affording participants the opportunity to enjoy the sights and local culture.

Jose Perdomo, Director of eHealth at Telefónica Digital, a member of the GSMA mHealth Leadership Board, said: “We know from our own trials that mobile technology can transform quality of life for patients with conditions such as diabetes, and, at the same time, foster efficiency for healthcare providers and payers. We welcome initiatives such as the GSMA’s mHealth Grand Tour, which will help demonstrate the capabilities of how mobile technology can manage chronic conditions in real-life circumstances.”

Diabetes UK, the UK’s leading Diabetes charity, with a growing community of 300,000 people nationwide, is a key supporter of the mHealth Grand Tour and has confirmed it will be entering a team. The charity recently won the Third Sector Excellence Award for Use of Digital Media for its Diabetes UK Tracker mobile app, which is designed to take the daily chore out of logging levels such as blood glucose, carbohydrates and calories.

“New technology and mobile-based solutions, such as the Diabetes UK Tracker app, can play a vital part in empowering someone with diabetes to be able to manage their condition in the way that suits them. This is why Diabetes UK is supporting the mHealth Grand Tour,” said Svetlana Kirov, Diabetes UK Deputy Director of Fundraising. “We welcome keen cyclists who are up for this challenge to join the Diabetes UK team to help us raise funds to continue our important work. The money raised through the Grand Tour will help us to make life better for the 3.7 million people in the UK with diabetes and the 7 million people at high risk.”

“Anyone can participate in the mHealth Grand Tour by joining a charity team, a mobile or healthcare industry team, or by entering their own company team,” commented O’Hara. “This is not a race – the teams are there for mutual support and to help foster a collegiate atmosphere on the ride. Riders can travel at their own pace and we expect the teams will mix it up on the road, which will be part of the fun and the experience.”

To register a team, please visit or email

GSMA Launches mDiabetes Campaign

The GSMA today also announced the launch of its mDiabetes campaign. Through this initiative, the GSMA will engage with its operator members to better understand the commercial models for mDiabetes solutions that have launched or are in development, and to identify and address key market barriers, with the ultimate goal of stimulating the creation and delivery of clinically meaningful mDiabetes solutions.

“Diabetes is a global epidemic and is only set to worsen. 371 million people worldwide live with the condition and this figure is expected to increase to 552 million by 2030,” continued O’Hara. “Diabetes care continues to pose challenges of affordability, complexity and access the world over. In contrast, mobile access is ubiquitous. There are more than three billion mobile subscribers around the world, and with the increasing adoption of smartphones and new and innovative ‘connected devices’, and the proliferation of Mobile Broadband networks globally, mobile is poised to play an ever-increasing role in healthcare.”

The campaign will encourage operators to develop mobile solutions for diabetes care, based on sound commercial models; facilitate greater interaction of the GSMA and its members with key stakeholders such as healthcare professionals, device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and patient support groups; generate awareness of the opportunities identified for mDiabetes intervention amongst end users including healthcare professionals and patients; and encourage the delivery of mDiabetes service trials, initiatives, studies and product and service launches.

As part of the campaign launch, the GSMA has released the following three white papers:

  • “Global Views on Potential of mHealth Solutions to Address Chronic Disease Challenges: A White Paper for Regulatory Bodies
  • “Global Views on Potential of mHealth Solutions to Address Key Healthcare Challenges: A White Paper for Healthcare Practitioners and the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • “Global Study of Perceptions of Mobile Solutions for Healthcare in Chronic Disease: A White Paper for Patient Societies and Advocacy Groups

For more information on the GSMA’s mDiabetes campaign and mHealth programme and to view the white papers, please visit:

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About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries and territories, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at or Mobile World Live, the online portal for the mobile communications industry, at

Media Contacts

Charlie Meredith Hardy (London)
M 44 7917 298 428

William Parker-Jenkins (Brussels)
M +32 (0) 490 443 977
T +32 (0) 2 894 90 28

GSMA Press Office