GSMA urges 700MHz harmonisation for Asia Pacific

Mobile industry operator grouping the GSMA has published research suggesting that mobile services could increase the GDP of Asia Pacific nations by $729bn in the next twenty years. The research is part of the GSMA’s bid to persuade governments that the 700MHz spectrum released as the region’s broadcasters switch to digital transmission should be allocated to the mobile industry.

The research, from a report compiled by the Boston Consulting Group, suggests that reserving the 700MHz spectrum for mobile broadband deployment could create more than two million jobs in the region and increase tax revenues by $131bn, as well as generating the regional GDP increase.

The benefits would only be realised, the GSMA said, if all national governments agreed to allocate the spectrum to the mobile industry, and if they all adopted the Asia Pacific Telecommunity’s 2 x 45MHz band plan for the 700Mhz band, creating harmonisation and economies of scale.

“Asia Pacific is a leading mobile market capable of driving large economies of scale and now has the opportunity to play a pivotal role in setting the standards for spectrum harmonisation,” said Tom Phillips, chief government and regulatory affairs officer for the GSMA. “By allocating the 700 MHz band to mobile, Asia Pacific countries could enjoy significant socio-economic benefits and provide millions of people with low-cost mobile services essential for their needs, such as internet connectivity, especially in rural areas, and much needed access to education, financial and health services. Non-harmonisation of the 700 MHz band will significantly reduce these benefits for the entire region, so it’s imperative that governments and regulators take a coordinated approach to spectrum allocation.”

The report was based on in-depth studies of Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia in a bit to represent the wide range of Asia Pacific markets. It concluded that there would be “a large incremental adoption of internet connectivity, particularly in rural areas, as a result of allocating the 700 MHz band for LTE, including a 14 per cent increase in internet subscriptions in Korea, 21 per cent in India, 22 per cent in Indonesia and 23 per cent in Malaysia.”

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