LIVE FROM MWC23 SHANGHAI: GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair highlighted collaboration as the key behind the mobile industry’s gains over the past 30 years, a factor he argued continues to be vital as 5G takes off and connectivity spreads across industries.

In the opening keynote, Sinclair argued meeting customers’ demands will require more complex offerings as 5G matures and becomes embedded in every aspect of people’s lives.

Meeting such demand can only be achieved by “working together, sharing knowledge and best practices, and innovating across industries and verticals”, he said.

Mobile broadband networks now cover 95 per cent of the world’s population, serving 5.4 billion unique customers. “Our industry has changed the world, unlocking the power of connectivity for almost 70 per cent of the population.”

As the industry enters the next stage of digital transformation, Sinclair insisted it needs to create scalable, interoperable and commercially-viable services which benefit operators, verticals and consumers.

“Collaboration and partnership will be key, so we must work to strengthen our bonds.”

Operators globally are forecast to spend $1.5 trillion on mobile capex over the next seven years to keep up with demand, the majority of which will be on 5G networks: “We need to explore innovative financial models to make sure we can achieve this,” Sinclair said.

Access to affordable and harmonised spectrum also will be crucial.

Sinclair said 2022 was a pivotal year for 5G, with more than 230 mobile operators in 90 markets offering commercial services.

“This year we expect 30 new markets to launch.”

With more than 660 million 5G connections, about 58 per cent of the global total, Sinclair said China had been “incredibly proactive in scaling the use of 5G in verticals”, establishing new business models to drive wider usage across sectors and speeding digital transformation across industries.

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