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7th Economic Experts Roundtable “The telecommunications industry in the post-COVID 19 world”

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The telecommunications industry in the post-COVID 19 world​

The 6th Economic Experts Roundtable convened by the ITU in June 2020 concluded that the digital infrastructure sector needed to re-examine some of the digital sector basic fundamental premises that were held before COVID-19. In particular, the experts stated that it was crucial for governments to learn from the lessons of the pandemic and take concrete, actionable measures in the telecommunication sector to enable operators to provide universal access to quality digital infrastructure networks for all and support the development of a digital economy. In this context, regulatory frameworks need to be adjusted to stimulate investment whilst maintaining a “sensible” level of competition, shifting from a “purist” to a “pragmatic” viewpoint on State aid regulations. 

In line with this conclusion, the 7th Economic Experts Roundtable was convened on February 2021 to understand and take stock further on some of the changes and potential funding challenges within the telecommunications sector in the post-COVID 19 world. The discussions focused on the following questions:

  1. What are the new business and operating models required to connect everyone?the potential impact of new operational and network sharing models;
  2. Are there any potential investment approaches capable of achieving the goals of universal service?what are the new financial models and instruments to be considered and what is the expected role of the Development Finance Institutions, Institutional investors, private equity and public markets, as well as the public sector in funding the required infrastructure.

The findings and conclusions of this Economic Experts Roundtable are compiled as a concise and actionable report for ICT policy makers, regulators, industry decision makers and other stakeholder. It is available now as the ITU Outcome Report on telecommunication industry in the post​-COVID-19 World.


Welcome and Opening Remarks 
- Ms Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director, BDT, ITU
Agenda Presentation 
- Dr Raul Katz, Rapporteur, ITU

Panel 1:  New business and operating models required to connect everyone ​​​

Moderator: Ms Sofie Maddens, Head, Regulatory and Market Environment Division, ITU

- Dr Karim Taga, Managing Partner and Global Practice Leader, Telecommunications,
        Information Technology, Media & Electronics, AD Little
- Mr Steve Brazier, President and CEO, Canalys
- Dr Tim Kelly, Lead Digital Development Specialist, World Bank
- Mr Shaun Collins, CEO, CCS Insight
- Mr Alexandre Ménard, Senior Partner and Global Leader, McKinsey Centre for Advanced                  Connectivity, McKinsey
- Mr Guy Zibi, Managing Director, Xalam Analytics
- Dr Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Latin America
        and the Caribbean
- Ms Alison Gillwald, Executive Director, Research ICT Africa

​​Panel 2: Potential financial and investment approaches to achieve universal service 

​Moderator: Mr Catalin Marinescu, Head, Strategy & Planning Division, ITU

- Mr Benoit Denis, Senior Economist – Digital Infrastructure Projects Directorate, European
        Investment Bank
- Dr Matt Yardley, Managing Partner, Analysis Mason
- Dr Fernanda Viecens, Former Commissioner at Competition Commission Argentina
- Mr Paul Lam, Strategy Officer - Digital & Technology, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
- Ms Imme Phil​beck, Chief Economist, Samena Telecommunications Council
- Mr James Sullivan, Managing Director – Asia Equity Research, JP Morgan
- Mr Alastair Macpherson, Partner and Head - Strategy Regulatory and Economics Practice,

- Closing remarks by Ms Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director, BDT, ITU