GSM celebrates 20th anniversary


On September 7 1987 an historic agreement was signed in Copenhagen by 15 telecommunications operators from 13 countries* that led to the development of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), and a mobile communications industry that today serves more than 2.5 billion people across 218 countries and territories.

The ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ agreement of 7th September 1987 laid the foundation for the first Europe-wide digital cellular system, which soon became the world’s first global mobile system as used by more than 700 mobile operators and served by thousands of suppliers today. The agreement also triggered a technology evolution path that continues today with the roll-out of more than 120 mobile broadband networks in 61 countries.
“The 1987 agreement is widely regarded as the foundation of today’s global mobile phone industry and the birth of one of the greatest technological achievements of our age,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, the global trade association for mobile operators.

“The early vision of our industry created international cooperation on an unprecedented scale that has led to a socio-economic revolution benefiting people, businesses and countries throughout the world.”
“GSM is the single most important agreement in the history of telecommunications,” said Sir Christopher Gent, one of the original signatories of the agreement and former CEO of Vodafone and today Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline plc. “With 2.5 billion users around the world today, it has done more to bridge the digital divide than any other innovation, and is a tremendous example of global cooperation.”


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