MWC 22 Ministerial Programme: Spectrum strategy for 4G, 5G and beyond

The GSMA was pleased to welcome over 61,000 people to Mobile World Congress this year. For those of us in policy, the Ministerial Programme was the centrepiece, and it was back in style with 161 delegations attending. While we held a small Ministerial Programme in 2021, it was great to see it back as the bustling parliament of regulatory discussion that those familiar with the ministerial summit had become accustomed to over the years.

Spectrum was at the top of the government agenda, and rightly so. We opened the spectrum debate to a packed mainstage at the Ministerial Programme on the first day and asked: what is your vision for 2030? The GSMA vision has always been clear. 5G’s story is one of boundless connectivity unleashing ground-breaking technologies and services to shape economies and societies.

Spectrum is the driving force behind this and is a crucial pillar of economic development as presented in our latest report “The socio-economic benefits of mid-band 5G services.” On the following panel, experts from international organisations, government and industry shared their visions for spectrum to drive 4G and 5G between now and 2030. Keabetswe Modimoeng of ICASA South Africa said it best: “We view spectrum as the lifeblood for current and future economic growth.”

Delivering digital inclusivity through spectrum was an important theme throughout Ministerial Programme and continued both in the corridors and in multi-regional roundtables. Discussions on pricing centred on prioritising long-term socio-economic benefits over short-term revenue generation. The need for close alignment between government and industry to lay out clear and transparent spectrum roadmaps was laid out to a full room at a second roundtable.

The Ministerial Programme is an important event for the mobile ecosystem. In 2022 it looked at mobile’s role as an enabler, at how to lower the usage gap by focussing on affordability, and how to utilise spectrum assets as bridges towards digital equality. In doing so, in bringing these issues to the front and centre of government thinking, it has helped us move towards a more inclusive, connected world.

Download spectrum session resources: