SEOUL - Telecom industry group the GSM Association expects the mobile industry to see continued growth in usage, despite the recession, and to provide simulus for the global economy.
Robert Conway, CEO of the association that represents 750 mobile operators worldwide, also forecast explosive growth in social networking over mobile Internet, fueled by the increasing use of smartphones with PC-like functionality.
You can expect there is going to be some contraction in overall revenue within the mobile industry during the recession, Conway told reporters on the sidelines of the association's board meeting in Seoul.
But the industry has shown resilience, especially in emerging markets, he said. We see the usage will continue to go up.
The cumulative effect of many countries optimising the expansion of broadband ... will have a multiplier effect on a global basis, Conway said, discussing the telecom industry's role in helping to revive the world economy.
He focused on the potential of smartphones and netbooks with mobile connections, noting that smartphones had led to an explosion of mobile social networking use.
We are seeing the tip of an iceberg of usage of social networking via mobile.
But with the rise of smart phones, mobile operators were facing challenges in providing access to applications and services between operating systems, he said.
While new rivals emerging in mobile services such as Apple's highly popular AppStore, Conway said the industry's goal was coming up with a global platform that would allow users to access services regardless of operating system or device.
Conway said he also expected the as yet slow migration toward Long Term Evolution, which is set to become a dominant standard for high-speed, next-generation mobile broadband, to accelerate. Leading operators such as NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile and Verizon would move to LTE as quickly as the status of technology allows, he said.
With LTE, deployments will begin to pick up at an additional speed in 2011 and beyond.
(Reporting by Rhee So-eui; Editing by Chris Lewis)