18 May, 2011

Press release: SAMENA – ETNO Joint CEO Leadership Event to Address the Need for Developing Sustainable Business Models for the Internet

The future of the economic model for the Internet will be one of the main topics of discussion in SAMENA and ETNO’s joint event, the CEO Leadership Event, to be held on June 9 in Istanbul, Turkey.


Brussels, Dubai – The future of the economic model for the Internet will be one of the main topics of discussion in SAMENA and ETNO’s joint event, the CEO Leadership Event, to be held on June 9 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hosted by SAMENA Telecommunications Council, the South Asia – Middle East – North Africa region’s telecom operators’ representative body, and the European telecommunications network operators’ association, ETNO, the CEO Leadership Event will convene chief executives from SAMENA’s 25-market network as well as leaders from the EU network operators. The executive event will serve as a platform for direct representation of the ICT policy interests of operators in 60 countries, with active participation anticipated from at least 40-plus chief executives from around the European, SAMENA and other regions.
The agenda of the CEO Leadership Event revolves around the sustainability of the Internet model and the development of viable business models on all layers of the Internet value chain.
Given the global increase in the use of bandwidth-hungry applications—attributed mostly to ‘over-the-top’ video content — data traffic over mobile and fixed networks has been escalating exponentially. Without significant investments in enhancing bandwidth capacity and an evolution of existing business models, this development would give rise to network congestion and deterioration in network performance, ultimately impacting the functioning of the Internet and the nascent content value chains. 
SAMENA and ETNO believe that a sustainable economic model for the Internet has to achieve a balance of the interests of all key stakeholders – including network operators, content rights holders, online content providers, providers of enabling technologies and network connectivity, and manufacturers of end-user devices. Within the context of sustainability of the Internet, SAMENA and ETNO believe heavy-handed regulation of the Internet is not needed. Both regional representative bodies believe such regulation would dampen investment and possibly discriminate unfairly against established telecom network operators.

All parties should engage to find possible solutions and new business models. In line with recently initiated dialogues within the SAMENA and the EU regions, SAMENA and ETNO are of the view that a favored method to realizing benefits for the end-user as well as for the industry is collaboration and negotiation among the stakeholders. Digitization programs in existence today have been enabled by telecom operators, which continually pour investments into network infrastructure development. The current scenario is not viable. It is, thus, necessary for all members of the ecosystem to work jointly together to address this challenge. In the event that such investments are discouraged or hindered by national or regional policies, it would become more difficult for telecom operators to sustain supporting future value addition, superior quality, and affordable pricing for their customers.

Mr. Thomas Wilson, CEO of SAMENA Telecommunications Council, said that “ensuring that the Internet continues to develop in a sustainable manner despite rapid traffic increase and generally flat relative revenues is a key economic performance challenge faced by all e-communications network operators at the global level. Telecoms operators in the SAMENA region closely follow the ongoing debate in Europe and elsewhere on how to stimulate all players of the value chain to innovate and invest in additional capacity, and we share the views expressed by ETNO members that it is essential to move towards a new equilibrium in which risks and returns are fairly distributed, taking into account the value created for consumers.” 
Thus, keeping in view market evolution and the need for creating a sustainable economic model for the future and sustaining viable partnership models between Internet access providers and content and applications providers, both SAMENA and ETNO believe that policy makers should not pre-empt market outcomes capable of addressing this challenge and increasing overall efficiency. Such support would help realise a new paradigm in which costs and revenues are more balanced and, effectively, encourage all market players to contribute to success in meeting the challenges ahead. New business models would include a further differentiation of retail offers, end-to-end quality delivery for services and applications with high performance needs or bilateral commercial agreements for traffic delivery with content and application providers.
Luigi Gambardella, Chairman of ETNO’s Executive Board, said, “the evolution of broadband infrastructure and of online services and applications, as well as the related policy developments, need to be looked at from a global perspective. The sustainability of the Internet is not only an issue in Europe but also in the rest of the world. This is why ETNO values very much increased cooperation with SAMENA, which represents some of the fastest growing ICT and telecom markets in the world.” 
As key stakeholders supporting their respective operator members’ interests in the development of sustainable Internet business models, SAMENA and ETNO have joined efforts in organizing this cross-regional CEO Leadership Event. The event will serve to further the policy interests and the priorities of both SAMENA’s and ETNO’s memberships.
About ETNO
ETNO’s 40 member companies from 35 European countries represent a significant part of total ICT activity in Europe. They account for an aggregate annual turnover of more than €250 billion and employ over one million people across Europe. ETNO companies are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe. For more information, please consult www.etno.eu or contact Thierry Dieu, ETNO Acting Director and Communications Manager (dieu@etno.be) or at 32 2 227 10 82.
About SAMENA                                                      
SAMENA Telecommunications Council is a tri-regional, non-profit telecommunications association that represents over 40 telecommunications operators in 25 markets, representing an aggregate subscriber base of 470 million mobile users and 12 million broadband users. The Council’s membership embodies a community of telecom operators, manufacturers, government bodies, academia, and leading global management consultancy organizations. SAMENA’s Board of Directors and member companies include the largest regional operators and global multi-network operators as well as new competitive entrants. SAMENA focuses on digitization and broadband investment policies, and aims to promote beneficial regulation and governance that further industry evolution, as well as cooperation among key ICT industry stakeholders. For further information, please visitwww.samenacouncil.org or contact SAMENA Communication at 971 4 364 2700 or email to (communications@samenacouncil.org).

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