Issues Regarding the Mobile Internet

15 November 2009 - A Workshop on Critical Internet Resources in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


Concise Description:
The mobile Internet has arrived, increasingly in the form of a web browser, limited or full function, embedded in a mobile telephone.  The uptake of mobile telephony in the developing world and the dramatic decline in the cost of processing power virtually guarantees that there will be hundreds of millions of mobile web devices available within a few years, with data services provided with broad geographic coverage.

The growth of the Internet will have a major impact on the developing countries, where mobile phone use is expanding rapidly.  It is possible that very soon the mobile phone will become the principal method of Internet access within those countries.  People and organizations involved with economic and social development can use this leverage to provide services to hundreds of millions of people heretofore not connected, but only if the regulatory framework is supportive and only if standards are in place to assure interoperability in this new dimension of Internet expansion.

This new environment raises issues of the role of telecomm regulation and interoperability and cross-regulatory issues with the financial sector as m-commerce and m-banking applications migrate to such devices.  The borderless nature of the Internet will exacerbate problems as these devices move around the world.

The workshop will discuss these issues both from a normative perspective and on the basis of existing initial deployments.

a) Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in the proposed workshop.

Tim Berners-Lee, Chair, World Wide Web Consortium (U.S.) (yes)
Americo Muchanga, Special Assistant to the Minister of Science, Mozambique (yes)
Stéphane Boyera, Manager, Web for Society Program, Web Foundation (France) (yes)
Ken Banks,, NGO activist, Africa (not yet))
Nii Quaynor, Minister of Telecommunications, Ghana (not yet)
Jacqueline Ruff, Vice President, Verizon (not yet)
Peter Hellmonds, Nokia-Siemens (not yet)
Charles Kenney, ICTD Division, The World Bank (not yet)

I personally know all of these individuals well, and I expect to approach the remainder of them this week. (I have just returned from an exhausting ICANN meeting in and travel to Sydney, Australia).

b) Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.

We will have representatives from government, civil society, the business community and the technical community. Representatives will come from North America, Europe, and Africa.

c) Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?

Yes. In particular, representatives of the telecommunications sector and the banking community will be useful in that a major application, m-banking, requires that the legislative and regulatory frameworks of a country do not conflict and weaken the scope of applications in this area.