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GSMA Director General Mats Granryd has claimed that the development of ‘mobile technology’ is shaping the world we live in - during a fascinating and engaging keynote address he delivered at the GSMA Mobile 360 event at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.

The Head of the GSMA says that mobile was shaping a new ‘digital world’ and focused on four specific areas in relation to mobile. He examined how mobile technology was developing throughout the world, by highlighted how it was transforming industries, whilst looking at the societal impact mobile is having, before finally considering how ‘mobile technology’ is contributing to the economy of the MENA region.

Granryd said the number of mobile connections is set to grow exponentially in the MENA region, and estimated mobile broadband will account for 70% of all connection in the GCC by 2020.

The GSMA Director General said, “Today, we have roughly 8 billion mobile connections globally – and the MENA region accounts for around 640 million mobile connections, which is expected to grow to 710 million connections by 2020.”

Granryd highlighted a major technology trend in the form of migration to mobile broadband, and he defined mobile broadband as networks that are using 3G or 4G. He claimed that in the MENA region last year, 2G was the prevailing technology – but projected that by the end of next year 3G will overtake that and said it represented ‘good growth’.

He then speculated on the deployment of 5G in the MENA region, and declared that some countries in the GCC would be amongst some of the first in the world to commercially deploy 5G services. He said, “5G is just around the corner, and some countries in the MENA region will be among the first to launch 5G services. We expect the UAE to launch 5G in 2019, and estimate that Qatar will follow in2020. More operators will deploy 5G and we project that by 2025 at least 30% of the MENA region will be covered with 5G services.”

In addition to this, the GSMA head said it was ‘imperative’ that the relevant regulatory authorities in the MENA region ensured a regulatory framework is implemented to fit the ‘digital age’. Granryd stressed the significance the telecommunications sector plays in relation to economic growth – and highlighted developments made in areas such as smart cities and 5G as an example of the sector’s commitment to the region.

He said, “Authorities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) must adopt regulation designed to support competition and investment, if mobile operators are to continue playing a major role in the region’s economies.”