Telecommunications watchdogs have gathered at the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) 2014 held in Bahrain. “Capitalizing on the potential of the digital world” was the main theme discussed in this 14th edition, organised by the International Telecom Union (ITU).
The South Asia, Middle East and North Africa (SAMENA) region was represented by SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s CEO, Bocar Ba, who was a panel member in the opening day debate session titled “Redefining responsibilities in a data driven digital world.”
“In many countries in the SAMENA region, regulation has not, so far, kept pace with the rapidly changing technical arena. For instance, a number of telecom regulators are opposed to cloud computing as well as the introduction of services such as M2M simply because it means that data will flow in and out of the particular country under the regulator’s jurisdiction. There are legitimate concerns about consumer privacy and this certainly needs to be addressed but it is unrealistic to stick to regulation that was designed to address legacy systems and processes,” said Ba regarding the regulatory frameworks on network technology, data handling and storage techniques.
According to Ba, the main challenges faced by operators in the digital world are related to changing business models. “There is a significant shift in revenue sources driven by the expansion of the Internet, especially mobile applications. In addition, there is an increase in customer network service expectations that require national broadband infrastructure building, which is a costly proposition. Next, there is a major change in users and patterns of digital services and products, which we at SAMENA Council call Digitization.”
During the GSR 2014, participants including regulators, policy makers and ITU-D sector members analysed and discussed several means to bring the full potential of the digital world to the consumers in an informed, responsive and safe manner.