Mobile World Live GSMA Intelligence

Economic Research Manager

Role type
Mobile for Development
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The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

GSMA Mobile for Development brings together our mobile operator members, the wider mobile industry and the development community to drive commercial mobile services for underserved people in emerging markets.  We identify opportunities for social, economic and environmental impact and stimulate the development of scalable, life-enhancing mobile services.

Mobile is the predominant infrastructure in emerging markets.  We believe it is the transformative technology that enables us to put relevant, impactful services into the hands of underserved people. Since the creation of GSMA Mobile for Development we have partnered with 50 mobile operators, rolling out 104 initiatives, impacting tens of millions of people across 49 countries.


The Connected Society Programme

The GSMA Connected Society programme is a multi-year Mobile for Development (M4D) programme and works to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 9, ‘build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’).

There are 6 billion people living in developing world markets, of which 2.6 billion adults are not connected to the mobile internet (1.3 billion with no coverage and 1.3 billion with coverage but no affordable means to access the internet). This represents an untapped growth opportunity for the mobile industry and one that can deliver both positive social and economic impact. The unconnected population is predominantly rural, low income and with low levels of basic and digital literacy creating entrenched barriers to adoption not easily addressed by the market.

The economic case for mobile operators to expand coverage into remote areas is challenging. Even where network coverage is already available, considerable barriers to adoption of mobile internet services remain. An estimated 48% of people in developing world markets live within a 3G/4G network footprint but do not use broadband mobile internet services.

This is because locally relevant content ecosystems are under-developed, digital illiteracy abounds and affordability issues compromise the ability to connect, especially for low-income groups.  Women in particular experience these barriers more acutely compared to men, due to social norms and disparities in terms of education and income, opening up a further significant digital divide.

If barriers to the availability, affordability, accessibility and attractiveness of mobile internet access are effectively addressed, mobile operators could be uniquely placed to deliver true digital inclusion solutions leading to the growth of the digital economy.


Role Overview

The Economic Research Manager will play a leading role in the GSMA’s advocacy activities focused on building the necessary evidence base and socio-economic arguments, which advocate the value that the mobile industry and wider ecosystem (including government, mobile ecosystem players and donors) bring towards a digital inclusion agenda especially in a developing world context. This will be achieved through ii) devising public policy and regulation strategies to increase connectivity and coverage, reduce the price of access and increase adoption of mobile internet services amongst underserved population groups; and iii) effectively engaging with government and regulatory stakeholders on the topic of digital inclusion, including investment and taxation policies and affordability of mobile services.

The Economic Research Manager will report to the Director of Consumer Insights and Policy for Digital Inclusion but will also work closely with the Head of Programme and wider Connected Society team. In addition, the Policy Research Manager will need to collaborate with other parts of the GSMA including policy teams within the Government & Regulatory Affairs group and our Regional offices. The role will also involve close co-operation with senior Group and OpCo level policy and regulatory staff within our member operators.

Role Specification

  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis into the cost of mobile services worldwide and models for mobile broadband expansion, and key public policies and regulations impacting them, including taxes applying to the mobile industry worldwide
  • Liaise with mobile operators and other stakeholders in the countries of study to discuss local regulations and policies to increase access to connectivity and to collect required data. This will involve working closely with GSMA’s regional teams
  • Support the GSMA’s in-country projects through economic modelling, country level tax studies, regional and market advocacy and reports.  This will be conjunction with consultancy support and close collaboration with institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
  • Coordinate stakeholder workshops in the countries of study to present the findings of the policy research to mobile operators, government and other stakeholders
  • Preparation of briefing materials for mobile operators and media containing local mobile  market analysis and economic arguments underlying the impacts of increased connectivity
  • Project management of in-depth research projects on specific topics, including managing and providing input into papers commissioned to research consultancies
  • Support the Director of Consumer Insights and Policy in the development of reports, papers and presentations for internal and external events
  • Participate in and presenting at relevant GSMA and external events
  • Take part in meetings with GSMA members and external partners
  • Collaborate with key external partners such as the World Bank, World Economic Forum, ITU and A4AI


Person Specification

The successful candidate will be able to draw on a solid foundation of knowledge the economics of the telecommunications industry, sector-specific regulatory and policy expertise; have strong analytical skills and have the ability to engage stakeholders, communicate effectively and adapt to different cultures. The ideal candidate will have experience working within the research team of a regulator or public body, a mobile network operator, a market research firm or blue-chip strategy consulting firm.

  • Masters in Economics or related discipline
  • Minimum 3/4 years work experience in research and economic modelling within the telecoms sector
  • Substantial experience in telecoms policy and regulation, within a government, public body or commercial organisation
  • Experience in stakeholder management and engagement, preferably with governments or regulators
  • Fluency in spoken and written English. Fluency in French essential. Spanish an advantage
  • Experience in carrying out and managing qualitative and quantitative research projects and reports. Desirable: financial modelling, business case development, data collection and management, survey design and analysis
  • Knowledge of the economics of developing markets and their impact on the ICT industry
  • Knowledge and experience of telecoms regulatory and public policy issues
  • Genuine and demonstrable interest in both the strategic and social benefits presented by the expansion of mobile internet services
  • Track record of producing high quality, impactful externally published research reports for advocacy with governments, regulators and policymakers
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative analytical skillset including proficiency in Excel and other specialist data analysis applications
  • Proficiency in Powerpoint , Word, Excel and other analytical tools
  • Good project management skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills - able to present complex data and socio-economic arguments in a clear, simple and efficient manner
  • Strategic thinker – able to see the bigger picture and how insights and research contribute to shaping the future direction of the programme
  • Ability to demonstrate sound judgment in escalating issues and formulating solutions
  • Excellent cultural awareness and desire to work as part of an international team
  • A self-starter, highly motivated to make a positive contribution to the programme
  • A team player, being able to effectively connect together a wide group of internal GSMA interests and resources, to support their work
  • Excellent relationship management skills
  • Willingness to travel on an international basis, often at short notice