DUBAI, Oct. 17. (Xinhua) -- The Middle Eastern governments shall invest more in the telecommunication industry in order to spur economic growth through networked societies, Swedish telecom giant Ericsson's regional manager Anders Lindblad said on Tuesday in Dubai.
Speaking at the five-day ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Telecom World conference, which kicked off Sunday in Dubai, Ericsson's Lindblad praised the Middle Eastern people's rising affinity for mobile phones and the Internet, but at the same time urged governments to invest more in the telecommunication infrastructure.
Quoting a market study done by consultancy firm Arthur D. Little, Lindblad said "based on empirical evidence, it is proven that investments in telecommunication infrastructure significantly boost a country's GDP, simply because rising connectivity leads to more business opportunities, higher education standards and better research and development in nearly all industry sectors."
The regional president added that as of today, half of the global smartphone traffic run through Ericsson networks. Globally, the smart phone penetration stands at only 15 percent, said Lindblad, "which means that the growth in smart phones will see the highest momentum in the future.
"But smart phones are still too expensive," he added. "Their prices must be reduced so that people with low-income can afford them too. Networked societies are the condition for economic prosperity."
Lindblad, who is responsible for Ericsson's operations in 22 countries from North Africa to Afghanistan, said that during his 37 minutes long speech, that "thousands new babies were born in the Middle East. I hope that in 20 years they will be still healthy not only due to higher standards of living in the region, but also better connected healthcare institutions through electronic means."