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ICLG has published the 2024 edition of Telecoms, Media and Internet Laws and Regulations Guide, and once again MEF was asked to contribute the opening chapter. The publication covers common issues in telecoms, media & internet laws and regulations, including Cybersecurity, Interception, Encryption and Data Retention.

Here is an excerpt from the MEF contribution by CEO Dario Betti, who takes a deep dive into 10 themes shaping the regulatory agenda in 2024, including the impact of post-globalisation on networks, the evolving value of privacy, the role of identity in internet regulation, 5G deployment, net neutrality, AI, digital inclusion, cybersecurity, economic consolidation, and environmental sustainability. The chapter is free to read online, and the whole publication is available to download now from the ICLG Website.

It is a great pleasure for the Mobile Ecosystem Forum to be asked again to open the ICLG – Telecoms, Media and Internet guide.  Over the years, this guide has represented a key source of information as well as an inspiration on the main debates in the industry.  In the ever-evolving landscape of the global telecommunications field, adaptation and innovation remain paramount.

As we step into the year 2024, MEF, the unifying force representing the entire spectrum of the telecom sector – from mobile operators to enterprises and consumers – finds itself at the forefront of profound regulatory debates that promise to reshape the future of connectivity.  We believe that as a not-for-profit industry association for the total ecosystem, we have an unmatched view of these debates.  MEF, as the guardian of the interests of a diverse array of stakeholders, is committed to providing guidance, advocacy and insight into these impending regulatory shifts.  As we delve deeper into the intricacies of the regulatory landscape for 2024, this guide serves as a beacon, through this transformative period.

With increasing concerns about data privacy and the rise of data-driven services, regulations pertaining to the collection, storage and use of personal information will be under scrutiny.  The balance between innovation and safeguarding consumer data rights will be a topic of intense debate.”

The 10 Key Regulatory Themes in 2024

In 2024, we stand on the cusp of another significant phase of evolution as governments and regulatory bodies worldwide redefine the rules of engagement within the telecom ecosystem.  These changes will have far-reaching implications on the competitive landscape, consumer rights and the way we conduct business in the digital age.  It is essential to shed light on the key topics and issues that will occupy the centre stage of discussions among regulators, industry stakeholders and policymakers.

In the coming year, several pivotal themes are poised to shape the regulatory agenda, and MEF is actively engaged in addressing these issues.  Here is a glimpse of what to expect in the year ahead, the 10 most important agenda items in the creation of a new regulatory framework for telecoms and Internet:

  • Global Networks in the Age of Post-Globalisation.  Following the first steps of the European Union (EU) introducing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA), it is likely that the debate on fostering a higher level of competition and accountability in digital platforms will spread to multiple areas.  At the same time, the regulatory divergence in Internet from countries such as China is challenging the service homogeneity that the Internet was predicted to bring.  This may be the biggest single factor in re-shaping our laws.
  • The New Value of Privacy.  With increasing concerns about data privacy and the rise of data-driven services, regulations pertaining to the collection, storage and use of personal information will be under scrutiny.  The balance between innovation and safeguarding consumer data rights will be a topic of intense debate.
  • The Growing Importance of Identity on the Internet.  Lack of identity was seen as a key feature to promote equality and freedom of expression on the Net.  However, today the regulatory frameworks are challenged by high levels of identity fraud, protection of minors, business impersonation and counterfeits.  The debate will increase considerably in importance.
  • 5G Deployment and Security.  The rollout of 5G networks continues to be a focal point.  Operators may have slowed the investment levels in reaction to economic concerns, but nations aim to harness the potential of this transformative technology.  Regulatory bodies will deliberate on issues related to spectrum allocation, security standards and privacy concerns associated with 5G infrastructure.
  • Net Neutrality.  Net-neutrality principles will return to be a point of contention after a few quiet years.  The discussions about ensuring equal and fair access to the Internet are back on the main stage as in the USA the regulation has made a significant return.  This will also re-open the international debate.  Regulators will explore measures to maintain an open and level playing field for all digital services and content providers.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Emerging Technologies.  Emerging technologies, such as AI and blockchain, will demand regulatory attention.  Discussions will centre on standards, security and interoperability to foster the growth of these interconnected ecosystems.
  • Digital Inclusion.  Bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all segments of society have access to affordable and reliable telecommunications services is a top priority.  Regulatory initiatives will aim to make digital inclusion a reality by expanding connectivity to underserved and rural areas.
  • Cybersecurity.  As cyber threats continue to evolve, regulations will focus on enhancing the resilience and security of telecom networks and services.  Cybersecurity standards and incident response protocols will be central to these discussions.
  • The Economic Value of Consolidation.  Regulatory bodies will examine competition dynamics within the telecom industry.  The balance between fostering competition and preventing monopolistic behaviour will be a persistent theme.  This may not be a new topic, but the reduced profitability found in telecom players will stimulate a higher level of mergers and consolidation.
  • Environmental Sustainability.  Sustainability and environmental concerns are increasingly influencing regulations.  Telecommunications providers will face pressures to adopt more eco-friendly practices in network deployment and operation.  However, telecoms and competition regulators have not set a clear mandate to cover environmental impact.  Regulatory authorities will be searching or requesting a framework to understand how they are supposed to integrate or implement environmental sustainability.

Below I shall expand on four critical areas…

To read the full article, head over to the ICLG website and consider downloading the chapter and publication.

Dario Betti

CEO, Mobile Ecosystem Forum


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