The GSMA today announced that it has elected Jon Fredrik Baksaas, president and CEO of Norwegian telecomms giant Telenor Group, to serve as GSMA chairman until the end of 2014.

The GSMA aims to unite mobile operators with handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities.

In the role of chairman, Baksaas will oversee the strategic direction of the GSMA, where he has been deputy chairman since January 2011. 

Baksaas has worked in the telecoms industryfor 25 years and has been the CEO of Telenor since 2002.

Following the appointment, Baksaas said: "Connecting even more of the world's population to the mobile internet is a top priority, and to address this, the GSMA will continue to focus on the future evolution of our networks, the adoption of secure and interoperable new services and advocate for the needs of our industry to governments and regulators."

GSMA director general Anne Bouverot said she and Baksaas will develop global and regional programmes that will drive future growth and investment in mobile services and deliver the social and economic benefits that mobile can provide. 

"We are at a critical juncture in the development of the mobile communications industry, as we see an ever-increasing number of people, devices and things becoming connected by mobile," she added.

There were just over two billion people with access to the internet in June 2012, according to Internet World Stats.