“The telecoms industry deserves recognition,” was the message from Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Palette during the opening speech of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona.
5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and the use of mobile networks to accelerate digitisation and solve the world’s problems will be themes of this year’s event, and Alvarez-Palette believes this contribution to society should be considered by policy makers.
He added that the 5G networks and fibre would require significant amounts of money and that governments should encourage this with a pro-investment regulatory environment.
It’s an argument presented by telcos around the world and without this, he argued, society as a whole may not benefit from the opportunities that next generation mobile and fixed networks can afford.
“We are beginning a new era. Around the world economies and societies are being transformed by digitalisation,” he continued, naming AI, virtual reality (VR), connected cars, biotechnology and Blockchain as examples of new innovations.
“All these tech are helping to disseminate information at an unprecedented rate. And they are creating traffic growth. We should expect further technological acceleration.
“Public policymakers should address this disruption. It is to time to reconsider norms to ensure we have equal rights in the digital world. This industry makes huge investments each year and hires millions of professionals.
“If we want benefits of digitalisation for all citizens to be realised.”
Similarly, Alvarez-Palette believes Spain deserves a role in this transformation, noting its economic growth, its position as Europe’s gateway to Latin America and its increasing connectivity. Spain has Western Europe’s largest penetration of fibre to the premise (FTTP) and the third largest in the world, after Japan and South Korea.
And, as a Spanish company, he is of little doubt where the future of Mobile World Congress lies.
“Without any doubt Barcelona is the best place to host this conference,” he said. “Barcelona has become a modern city and hub for telecommunications. [MWC] has become one of, if not the most important technology event in the world.”
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MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.