Published on 24 October 2019

GSMA: all you need to know

As the global mobile operator trade body, the GSM Association represents the interests of almost 800 mobile network operators and manufacturers worldwide. It has a strong influence due to its sector and combined economic power. Stéphane Richard was elected Chair of the GSMA Board for 2019 - 2020. His goal: promote access to socio-economic development for everyone.


GSMA: a strong influence

The GSMA has a strong global influence, representing more than 750 mobile operators and a further 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.
It also includes 200 manufacturers and other industry players working on mobile network standards.
Together, they have a big impact on the economy, accounting for 5.2 billion mobile customers and 30 million jobs.


Socio-economic development a strong driver

With its size and economic weight, operators hold a great social responsibility, underlined by Stéphane Richard at the time of his election.


Mobile operators and our wider industry have a key role to play in promoting a safer and more inclusive digital world, while building the infrastructure and services that will carry us forward as we enter this new era of intelligent connectivity.

Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange & Chair of the GSMA Board for 2019 - 2020 


More than ever, the GSMA aims to promote digital innovation that benefits the socio-economic development of disadvantaged populations.



Creating value through activities that animate, raise awareness and advocate development

The GSMA hosts a number of events including the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, the world’s largest mobile industry tradeshow.


Among its other activities:

  • Training and informing public bodies and authorities
  • Facilitating common and global standards for products and services (e.g. Mobile Connect, IoT, SIM evolution, security, networks…)
  • Supporting operators on the spectrum and the conditions for “fair business” (e.g. licence pricing and taxes…)
  • Promoting the image and socio-economic value of mobile telephony: image and reputation, economics of development and digital inclusion for everyone.
  • Communicating through tradeshows, conferences and workshops on topics as broad as privacy, devices, drones, SIM and energy. These events attract more than 200,000 visitors a year worldwide.


Focus on today’s big themes

The GSMA is working on the following major priorities:

  • Future networks and 5G: the GSMA is laying the groundwork for the transition to 5G, and transforming uses and business operations  (virtualisation, e-SIM, IoT, AI...).
  • Digital identity: the GSMA brings operators together to develop innovative, privacy-friendly services (Mobile Connect, National ID, APIs…).
  • New uses: the GSMA stimulates innovation and promotes interoperability of services worldwide. Each year, the GSMA Awards recognises innovative operators and start-ups.
  • Standardisation: the GSMA contributes to defining and publishing mobile telephony standards such as those used for voice over LTE networks or eSIM (the embedded SIM card as opposed to physical SIM cards). Find out more
  • Public policy and policy discourse on major topics such as access to frequencies, fair regulation and the challenges of digital inclusion.



The GSMA: 12 offices spread over several continents:

The 25-strong GSMA Board has representation from global operators (including Orange), as well as 12 who rotate, headed by the Chair.

  • Head office: London
  • Europe: Barcelona, Brussels
  • North America: Atlanta (USA)
  • South America: Brasilia, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • Asia: Hong Kong, Shanghai (China); New Delhi (India)
  • Africa: Nairobi (Kenya)
  • UAE: Dubai

GSM Association