(MENAFN Press) Doha, Qatar
In a bold speech at ITU Telecom World 2012 today, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Thani, Qtel Group Chairman, challenged the telecommunications sector's operators, regulators and partners to come together to solve some of the major challenges facing both customers and the industry today.
In his keynote talk at the opening ceremony of the event, which is the leading platform for the global ICT community, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah identified the need to support new broadband infrastructure projects and the necessity of more transparency regarding international data roaming charges as two of the most significant challenges facing the industry.
The price of international data roaming has become a hot-button issue around the world, with the increasingly global population often facing excessive charges when they use their mobile abroad, inflated by the operator in the country they visit. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is pushing for legislation and industry agreement that would secure roaming price transparency, immediate access to price information, greater competition and prices that are based on the actual costs.
In his speech to the assembled dignitaries, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah pledged his support for this international effort: "The people who travel abroad are among our best customers, and we need to make sure they can use their mobiles safely and securely. I fully support the ITU Secretary General, Dr. Hamadoun Tour, and his call for full transparency and choice. My message is that we are committed to solving this problem. We are ready to work with the ITU and national regulators to promote the transparency and choice that we all deserve."
The global roaming market in is expected to grow from USD 45 billion in 2012 to more than USD 60 billion by 2016, thanks to a boom in the number of global roamers, according to research by Informa. Regulation and legislation has helped to protect customers against escalating charges and helped to preserve competition.
Qtel Group companies have taken the lead in providing fair and transparent roaming services for customers, with the launch of SmartRoamer services in 2009 and the more recent launch of data roaming packages, which provide data roaming bundles for customers travelling abroad.
In addition, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah tackled the key issue of how regulators and operators can create the right regulatory framework to enable the next phase of Broadband development.
"Broadband access is increasingly important for economic development, information access, cultural exchange and even national security, and matching the growth in demand with network investment will be a critical success factor for ongoing growth," said H.E. Sheikh Abdullah.
"It is the responsibility of network investors and operators to ensure that investments in broadband are profitable, so that investments can keep pace with the public's demand for broadband services. It is the responsibility of governments and their telecoms regulators to provide a framework that promotes investment. National and international operators and regulators need to be on the same side. That way we can deliver broadband to the greatest number of customers in emerging markets" he concluded.
At ITU Telecom World 2012, the Qtel Group is showcasing a broad range of new innovations and services that will enrich the lives of customers around the world, from Mobile Money solutions and entertainment products, through to the latest 4G networks.