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We are all aware of the extraordinary changes taking place in the telecommunications world and the need for reliable,up-to-date and comparable indicators for analysing the industry and benchmarking the effectiveness of public policies. This includes measurements for comparing universal service, network progress and performance, as well as macro-economic indicators to gauge the impact of telecommunications on social and economic development. There is also an urgent need to evaluate the benefits and costs of liberalization, privatization, competition and globalization in the sector in order to inform policy-makers and others about these reform options and their effects.

It is, therefore, with great pleasure that we introduce a new four-page insert known as ITU TELECOMMUNICATION INDICATORS UPDATE, to be published four times a year in the centre pages of ITU News. The work of the International Telecommunication Union in telecommunication statistics goes back a long way. However, it is really since the establishment of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) in the early 1990s that the ITU begun to use data regularly in an analytical way to gauge network developments worldwide.

The ITU now produces a number of reports which track the information needed by governments and regulators to formulate suitable policies. The best known is, undoubtedly, the World Telecommunication Development Report (WTDR) which is published annually. Its popularity has led us to launch the ITU TELECOMMUNICATION INDICATORS UPDATE, designed to give you regular updates in key areas of growth in the interval between the publication of the WTDR.

Each insertwill feature four main headings: a short review of one of the ITU indicators products, an update of the key telecommunication indicators, an overview of a specific, fast developing "hot topic", and a country profile.

In this first UPDATE, you will find an overview of a report launched by ITU at the recent Telecom Americas 2000 Exhibition and Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Americas Telecommunication Indicators 2000, which focuses on how the telecommunication reform programmes of the last decade are shaping the market of the coming decade and reviews telecommunication developments in the emerging economies of the western hemisphere.

The UPDATE also surveys the mobile sector as a key driver of growth for most telecommunication markets. In particular, it provides interesting data on mobile cellular subscribers worldwide from 1990 to 1999. The explosion of electronic messages sent via mobile telephones, particularly in Europe, is also reviewed, providing interesting findings on usage trends in relation to the cost structure.

Finally, Uganda is featured as a country profile. Uganda's telecommunications sector is now one of the most liberalized markets in Africa and its aggressive expansion policies are bearing fruit with a remarkable threefold increase in the country's teledensity in just four years.

We hope that these quarterly updates will meet your requirements for critical up-to-date information, adding to our palette of top-class products aimed at helping our Members make informed decisions.

Hamadoun I. Touré, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau 

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Updated : 2001-03-26