Speakers’ Corner: The tech revolution


I’ve always been a gadget person. When I took on the role of UK Minister for Trade and Investment I knew the UK had strengths in the ICT sector. I’ve since discovered there is so much innovation and creativity within the space, and specifically within mobile communications.

You could see it at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February – the volume and diversity of the 150-strong UK delegation showing mobile technologies, devices and applications amazed me.

The UK represents the world’s fourth-largest communications sector and, so, it was no surprise it was one of the largest participants at the show.

But, despite this, one of the biggest challenges we face in the UK is a lack of confidence. Like all sectors, the mobile communications industry is affected by the global downturn, but there are still so many successes to shout about.

We are a forward-looking country. No industry demonstrates this creativity and dynamism better than the mobile communications sector.
More than 200 years ago, the UK led the industrial revolution which opened the floodgates for innovation around the world.

We’ve come a long way since Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Our technology pioneers continue to forge new frontiers to help tackle the global challenges of the 21st century.

The importance of the UK’s industry is not simply due to its size, but its ability to transform the lives of people and business, making them more efficient and effective. Few of us can imagine a life without a mobile phone. 

As mobile technologies continue to develop and broadband becomes ubiquitous, this sector’s importance will grow further.

From this I believe there are opportunities out there for UK mobile communications companies to continue leading the way.

There are now more than four billion people in the world using mobiles – equating to more than half of the global population. Forecasts suggest there will be six billion users by 2015.

China alone is predicted to have one billion mobile subscribers by 2013 – easily the largest single mobile market in the world – and 200 million of those subscribers will be on the latest 3G networks.

Being at the forefront of an industry is not about moving with the masses but about thinking and acting beyond the crowd. We need to get these opportunities in our sights and grab them.

Full article in Mobile News 438 (May 4, 2009).

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