Keynote Speech by Brahima Sanou
Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)
Your Excellency, Dr. Lütfi ELVAN, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications of the Republic of Turkey,
Dr. Tayfun ACARER, Chairman of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of the Republic of Turkey,
Honourable Ministers here present,
Chairmen CEOs and Director Generals of Regulatory bodies,
CEOs of private sector and other stakeholders here present,
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to be here, in the beautiful and historic city of Istanbul, to attend the 9th International Electronic Communications Regulators Conference around the "Impact of New Technologies and Innovation on Regulations".
Allow me to start by expressing, once again, my sincerest condolences to the Government, the people of Turkey and the families and friends of those who loss their lives in the explosion of the coal mine in western Turkey on 13 May. I wish all those who were injured a speedy recovery.
Ladies and gentlemen
As we all know, and as we all witness in our daily lives, the ICT sector continues to experience remarkable evolution and to drive tremendous changes in the way we live, work and interact.
Today, almost all people are within reach of mobile service signal. According to our estimates in ITU, the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach almost 7 billion by the end of 2014, corresponding to a penetration rate of 96 per cent, showing a ten-fold increase over the past 15 years.
By the end of this year, the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally, almost 5 times as many as in 2008.
There is no doubt that the ICT sector evolves, converges and transforms at a very dynamic pace.
The digital world we live in touches nearly every aspect of our lives. For many of us today, access to online services is vital to find a job, receive a salary, pay bills and taxes, vote, learn and make decisions.
Think of the growing applications, or "apps" market, for example. Just a few months ago, The Economist carried an interesting article describing how smartphone applications are reshaping the taxi market.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, people can hail and pay for taxis though a local application. In many other cities around the world, taxi apps have taken off rapidly.
The impact of all Internet-connected devices, applications and services is just enormous.
Nowadays, data-intensive services, such as big data, are putting additional strain on networks. Operators and service providers are working diligently to identify strategies to cope with the ever-increasing traffic expansion.
In this fast-changing and dynamic world, regulators have recognized that new regulatory paradigms are essential to drive digital communications forward.
The special edition of Telecommunications Trends, an ITU flagship publication launched at the recent World Telecommunication Development Conference, explores the policy and regulatory issues that have surfaced as the ICT sector accelerates into a broadband ecosystem of evolving applications and services.
In this converged market, we should adapt and develop more flexible and more innovative regulatory frameworks.
These frameworks should be more targeted, light-handed, non-discriminatory and technology and service-neutral;
They should also promote competition, innovation and growth;
These regulatory frameworks should foster build-out and access to next generation networks and the adoption of broadband applications and services for all;
They should encourage infrastructure sharing and any-to-any connectivity and interoperability;
They should redefine the scope of universal service and consequently the scope universal service funds;
They should promote public-private partnership;
Last but not least, they should protect consumers' rights, personal information and privacy and educate the consumers on issues related to their security in the cyberspace.
Now, how can we achieve all this? We have a lot of ways at our disposal, but I will put exchange of experiences and best practices in a multistakeholder setting at the top. And this is why we are all here today.
In this juncture, I would like to reiterate my thanks to Turkish Government and the ICTA for giving us this opportunity, and lend my support to this conference.
As exchange of experiences and best practices is a continuous process, the 14th Global Symposium for Regulators, known as GSR, which will be held next week from 3 to 5 June in Manama, Bahrain, will be another opportunity to build and strengthen the capacities of the regulators and the whole ICT industry.
Under the theme of "Capitalizing on the Potential of the Digital World", GSR-14 we will explore ways to ensure that the full array of benefits of the digital environment is brought to all citizens of the world in an informed, responsive and safe manner.
GSR-14 will also discuss further the changing ICT consumer behaviors, consumer empowerment and protection; the opportunities and challenges of big data, competition, spectrum licensing as well as the new business models driven by digital communications and services.
I hereby reiterate my invitation to you and hope to see you at GSR-14 next week.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to address this august conference. I strongly believe that this is a "golden opportunity" to exchange view and experiences on how new technologies and innovation will impact regulators.
I am sure that, by working closely together, and cross-fertilizing our experiences we can drive digital communications ahead and create the conditions to ensure that no one is left aside of the digital society and the digital economy.
We must work together to put a human face on the ICTs.
I thank you for your attention.