From 2014 to 2019, telecommunications operators, especially in the developing countries, would need an investment of about $144.2 billion on fibre cable infrastructure to deepen broadband penetration.
Already, a new report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has stated that more than 40 operators have launched or are planning Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployments, with 88 per cent of these operators in developing markets.
The latest edition of ITU’s yearly global ICT regulatory report, “Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2016′, noted that increasing number of existing operators, new entrants and financiers are already developing alternative funding approaches for broadband network investments.
Investment in broadband infrastructure, according to ITU, is also coming from more unlikely institutions such as hedge funds or corporates that do not traditionally invest in telecommunications infrastructure.
The mobile industry association GSMA predicted that between one and two billion Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections would be available by 2020. Some experts believe that the market for IoT devices will grow exponentially, resulting in over $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy by 2019.
The report charted and analysed the challenges and opportunities facing today’s ICT regulators as services proliferate, platforms converge and network operators ready their infrastructure for the next round of data-intensive technologies, from 5G mobile to the Internet of Things (IoT).
With the theme of ‘exploring regulatory incentives to achieve digital opportunities’, the report emphasised the growing importance of flexible, light-touch, technology-neutral regulatory principles which stimulate market growth while protecting the rights of consumers and encouraging new entrants.
ITU Secretary-General, Houline Zhao, said, “Information and communication technologies are now all-pervasive and will be central to helping the world meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The role of ICT regulators in creating an enabling environment for ICT growth and development has never been more critical.”