ITU chief calls for fast global deployment of next-generation IMT-Advanced mobile networks
Geneva, 24 February 2012 — ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré has launched a call to mobile operators worldwide to move quickly to deploy IMT-Advanced-compliant mobile broadband networks, while at the same time urging governments to slash or even abolish onerous taxes on ICT equipment and services that could stifle the future growth of the mobile sector.
“If we are to translate the ‘mobile miracle’ of the past decade to wireless broadband, we need to take full advantage of the faster speeds IMT-Advanced will bring, ushering in the next exciting wave of innovation through creative new applications and services,” said Dr Touré.
ITU’s recent Radiocommunication Assembly (Geneva, 16-20 January) officially endorsed the two selected technologies that will form the basis of IMT-Advanced next generation high-speed cellular broadband. LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced both qualified as IMT-Advanced-compliant, capable of supporting speeds of 1 Gbit/s while stationary and 100 Mbit/s while in motion.
“Consumers today expect to be connected to the Internet, to their social networks and to their data anywhere, anytime. As we enter the era of true mobile broadband, it is in everyone’s interests that people are able to use their mobile devices intuitively and spontaneously, taking advantage of premium high-speed services like live video streaming and new apps we haven’t yet dreamt of,” said Dr Touré. “Operators who move fast to deploy IMT-Advanced technologies, and who price their services competitively, will reap the full benefit of the next wave of explosive growth.”
Dr Touré also warned against unfair taxes levied on ICT goods and services by governments hoping to take advantage of the buoyant state of the technology sector. “It is encouraging to see a growing number of tax administrators recognize that ICT services are different from other services, because of their capacity to stimulate economic growth and social development. Governments who have committed to following best-practice ICT regulation are now reducing or even eliminating some sector-specific taxes. ITU would like to see all governments follow their lead,” he said.
Dr Touré will be making his case for rapid broadband mobile roll-out coupled with a more rational approach to ICT taxation in a keynote speech to Chief Regulatory Officers at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona on Saturday 25th February. He will also outline the topics likely to be debated at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), which will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 3-14 December.
WCIT-12 will review the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), a global treaty last updated in 1988 whose purpose is to promote the development of telecommunication services and their most efficient operation.
The current ITRs helped establish the framework for the market liberalization, privatization and technological revolution that transformed the industry over the past two decades. Some ITU members believe the treaty now needs to be updated to reflect today’s new ICT landscape.
“Back in 1988, the three key pillars underpinning telecoms were time, distance, and location. These have all become almost entirely irrelevant in terms of global telecoms services today.
We need to be sure we have the right frameworks in place to nurture the broadband revolution that will define the coming decade,” said Dr Touré.
The Internet is dependent on the ICT networks – fibre, cable, mobile and satellite – which underpin it. Dr Touré warned of the risk of an increasing ‘infrastructure gap’, with data volumes already increasing much faster than the infrastructure needed to carry it.
“We must keep the Internet open for business to sustain growth in today’s massively inter-dependent global digital economy,” he said. “True to ITU’s long tradition of building global consensus on the issues that shape tomorrow’s networks and services, we’ll be looking for win-win outcomes that give our industry the strength and resilience to flourish for many years to come.”
A comprehensive list of outcomes relevant to the global radiocommunication industry taken at ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) in Geneva (23 January-17 February) can be found at: www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2012/10.aspx.
Since 2000, the world has seen the introduction of the first family of standards derived from the ITU’s International Mobile Telecommunication system (IMT). ‘IMT-2000’ networks (commonly referred to as ‘3G’) are now widely deployed worldwide. The next iteration of the IMT family, ‘IMT-Advanced’, provides a global platform on which to build the next generation of mobile services – fast data access, unified messaging and broadband multimedia – in the form of exciting new interactive services and applications.
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For over 145 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.