Innovation remains strong during economic downturn

Survey findings released by the GSM Association reveal that an overwhelming majority of global mobile network operators, investors and technology vendors believe that the current economic malaise is actually driving innovation in the telecoms industry.

The indepth industry study, which surveyed the opinions of 200 senior executives working at MNOs, venture capitalists and mobile innovators around the globe, indicated that nearly 70% of respondents believe that the increased need to prove a business case for new products and services during a downturn helps rather than hinders innovation.

Furthermore, 80% of the industry strongly believe that maintaining levels of spend on research and development is vital if mobile network operators are to benefit from the growth potential of new and innovative services.

The convergence of GSM and CDMA carriers behind the LTE standard is set to provide developers with an environment that helps take innovation to the next level, said 80% of respondents.

While many industry experts cite that innovation is coming primarily from emerging markets, the new study suggests that cellular powerhouses of North America and Asia will continue to flourish. Indeed, while 45% of respondents suggested that the most innovative projects will come from high growth emerging markets, such as India and China, 55% believed that established markets would continue to innovate.

High growth markets are clearly playing a more prominent role in the world of innovation. The increased level of competition from emerging markets is driving developed markets forward, proving that increased competition, wherever it comes from, can only ever have a positive effect.

Bill Gajda, chief commercial officer at the GSMA, said: “It was back in the summer of 2007 that the world’s media started talking and writing about an impending credit crunch. The effects have been dramatic and far reaching. There is, however, one group that thrives during times of hardship; innovators. Necessity, it seems, really is the mother of invention.”

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