Mobile is one of the greatest technology success stories of all time, making a significant socio-economic contribution to every country. Robust and resilient digital infrastructure is in every country’s national interest.
The volume of data crossing telecoms networks is growing exponentially as more people take advantage of broadband connectivity and demand for data-heavy digital content such as streaming video proliferates. Remarkably, more than half of all internet traffic today is generated by only six global internet companies.
To accommodate the rising flows of digital traffic and sustain service performance, mobile operators must constantly invest — to expand their network capacity, close coverage gaps and deploy new technologies.
Depending on individual market circumstances, sector-specific regulatory and fiscal requirements such as asymmetric regulatory obligations, sector-specific taxes and fees, network deployment costs and restrictions, combined with market imbalances along the digital value chain, put additional pressure on operators’ ongoing investments to maintain, expand and evolve their networks to meet the expectations of their customers and achieve broader public policy objectives.
All segments of the internet ecosystem should have the opportunity to make fair returns in a competitive marketplace. Industry leaders, stakeholders and policymakers need to engage in dialogue where this is not the case, to ensure that regulatory asymmetry, market distortions or other factors do not limit this ability, and that the right incentives for digital infrastructure investment are in place to support the long-term growth of the ecosystem.
Different approaches may be appropriate in different markets to address any market imbalances; however, the ultimate goal is nevertheless the same: to deliver and sustain digital connectivity — for everyone — for decades to come.