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Mobile operators must invest further in acquiring the bandwidth needed for the next stage in the development of the mobile broadband industry, a delegate at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has asserted.

Franco Bernabe, chief executive of Telecom Italia, told attendees that 3G operators must not rest on their laurels where investment is concerned.

Mr Bernabe said that bandwidth is the issue that underpins much of mobile broadband's future, such as the roll-out of next-generation services.

He commented: "In the currently uncertain economic climate, it is simply unimaginable that we will enter a new phase of European and worldwide growth if we do not have sufficient availability of bandwidth.

"Bandwidth is the necessary driver for direct investments such as radio access infrastructure and demand for fibre-optic backhauling; it is also a driver of indirect investment."

Estimates from the World Bank suggest that the establishment of a new fixed-line connection can cost up to ten times more than supplying a customer with mobile broadband services.

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