GSMA honours Botswana, Lebanon, Spain and UAE government

The GSMA today recognised the governments of Botswana, Lebanon, Spain and the United Arab Emirates at the mobile industry’s prestigious Government Mobile Excellence Awards, which honour governments’ significant achievements in driving the growth and socio-economic impact of the mobile industry in their respective countries.

This year, the Government Mobile Excellence Awards have been expanded to include four categories: Government Leadership, Spectrum for Mobile Broadband, Economic Policy for Sustainable Mobile Growth and Connected Government. The awards acknowledge government policies and regulation that encourage investment and support transparency, competition and regulatory independence.

“The governments of Botswana, Lebanon, Spain and the United Arab Emirates have demonstrated a clear commitment to putting mobile at the top of their digital agendas,” said Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer, GSMA.

“We encourage administrations from around the globe to be inspired by their achievements and adopt similar best practice measures in order to encourage greater mobile industry investment, support innovation and increase the provision of mobile services for their citizens,” added Phillips.

The 2014 Government Leadership Award was presented to the Government of Botswana minister of communications, Nonofo Molefhi. The minister and his government’s leadership and vision for a digital Southern Africa were the catalyst for a regional collaboration at the “Encouraging Digital Inclusion in Southern Africa” Ministerial Summit held in Kasane, Botswana in September 2013.

The United Arab Emirates Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has been at the forefront of the international drive to increase the spectrum available for mobile broadband. The TRA chaired the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference in 2012 and led intensive coordination and consensus building efforts to identify the 700 MHz band for mobile, at an international level.

In May 2013, the United Arab Emirates became the first country in the Middle East, Africa or Europe to identify the 700MHz spectrum band for mobile — a milestone in the development of what promises to become a nearly global harmonised spectrum band for mobile broadband.

The Digital Agenda for Spain, approved in February 2013, is the government’s strategy to develop Spain’s digital economy and society. With 121 concrete measures and a budget of €2.3 billion, the strategy combines an innovative legislative framework, to promote mobile network deployment; a publicly-funded programme, to expand mobile network coverage in less profitable areas; and the allocation of more spectrum for mobile broadband.

To increase investment in mobile infrastructure, the government of Spain is developing a new General Telecommunication Law, which will increase legal certainty and provide efficiency gains for mobile operators through legislation that reduces the cost of network deployment.

The government of Lebanon’s “Open Your Tomorrow” project seeks to provide every student with an affordable 3G tablet, purpose-built with academic content and robust security. Working with a number of technology providers, the aim is to improve education opportunities and provide children with a learning advantage, levelling the playing field with children from around the world.

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications funded the project by sourcing 15,000 Android-based tablets, all equipped with parental controls and an enterprise mobility management (EMM) system provided by AirWatch. The Ministry of Education’s goal is to deploy an additional 400,000 tablets into schools within the next two years and inspire content publishers and app developers to produce educational materials for academic purposes.

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