New GSMA Study Calls for Fundamental Review of Digital Ecosystem Regulations

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The GSMA has published a new report calling for the modernisation of
telecommunications regulations. “A New Regulatory Framework for the
Digital Ecosystem”, developed by NERA Economic Consulting for the GSMA,
explores how the pace of regulatory reform has failed to match the speed
of change in the digital world, in particular with the emergence of a
range of internet-based services and applications and a converged
digital ecosystem. The study recommends a forward-looking,
technology-agnostic regulatory framework, driven by clear policy
objectives around consumer protection, innovation, investment and

“The telecoms regulations in place today are largely the same as those
used to regulate the technologies and markets of the last century. There
is no place for analogue rules in today’s dynamic digital age, where
consumers face an expanded array of competitive choice in a converged
marketplace,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “In many
cases, changes in technologies and markets have eliminated the need for
certain regulations – or at least dictate the need to change the form or
application of them. The GSMA urges policymakers to review existing
market structures, reform out-dated regulation and ensure a level
competitive playing field to protect consumers and enable innovation.”

Current Regulatory Imbalances

The collective growth in mobile broadband access, smartphones and
internet technology has fostered new mobile voice and messaging
communication services. While these new services compete directly with
traditional communications services, including those offered by mobile
operators, they are not subject to the same rules, including rules for
collecting and using customer data.

“This discriminatory regulation distorts competition, stifles innovation
and hurts consumer welfare,” continued Giusti. “Today’s dynamic and
competitive markets require more non-discriminatory and
technology-agnostic policies. Reforms are needed to ensure that
consumers continue to benefit from innovation and investment, while
being protected and regardless of the type of the company or technology
providing the service.

Key Principles for a Modern Regulatory Framework

To accommodate the complexity of today’s converged digital ecosystem,
the GSMA’s new report recommends that policymakers should incorporate
three key principles as they work to modernise regulatory frameworks:

  • Regulatory objectives can best be met by focusing on the services
    delivered to consumers,
    not the type of company or technology that
    delivers them.
  • Measurable, performance-based approaches should be favoured over
    prescriptive regulations, 
    promoting market dynamism and
    driving consumer welfare.
  • Policymakers should take a fresh look at legacy rules and discard
    those that are no longer relevant,
    applying a consistent set of
    criteria throughout the ecosystem.

“The GSMA is committed to actively pursuing an informed, constructive
and evidence-based dialogue with policymakers to promote much-needed
reform of out-dated regulatory frameworks,” concluded Giusti. “By
applying consistent and flexible standards across the digital ecosystem
that apply to all market players, policymakers can enable an environment
of fair and sustainable competition that promotes the best interests of
consumers and fosters economic growth.”

The full report is available at


About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting
nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile
ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies,
equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in
adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading
events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and
the Mobile 360 Series conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at
Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.


Christian Prior (Brussels)
+32 (0) 2 894 90 13
Press Office