Courage required in changing digital landscape says Qtel chief
Regulators and stakeholders must show courage in the face of the enormous social and technological changes sweeping the communications world, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Thani, chairman of Qatar's Qtel, has told delegates at the ITU Telecom World Congress.
In his keynote speech in Geneva on 26 October, Sheikh Abdullah pointed to a global mobile penetration rate of 90% driving ever higher data demand, and in turn putting pressure on operators and technology companies to deliver.
He also highlighted the rapid growth of social media in the Arab world, where the total number of Facebook users has doubled this year to reach 27 million. Around 75% of people using social networks are, he said, aged between 15 and 29.
"To adapt to the pace of the new broadband world, it is essential that operators, regulators, technology companies and business leaders all act with courage," said Sheikh Abdullah.
"Operators must invest and create new services for our customers that are truly special; regulators must recognise that the rules are changing in a broadband-driven environment; and leaders must have the courage to make a difference."
Around 2.3 billion people are now accessing the internet globally, with almost half the world's online population under 25 years old, according to a new mini-report from the ITU. The developing world's online share has grown from 44% five years ago to 62% in 2011.
The report, 'The World in 2011' reveals global internet penetration has grown by over 50% in the past three years, from 13% in 2008 to 20% in 2011.