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Study Group 3 at a glance

​ITU-T Study Group 3 - Tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues


ITU-T Study Group 3 provides a unique global forum to improve the understanding of the financial and economic aspects associated with the growth of ICT, particularly with respect to the shift to IP-based and NGN/Future Networks and the exponential rise in mobile wireless communications.  The traditional mandate of SG3, which continues today, dates back to the early days of the International Telegraph Union (in the 1800s) in terms of interconnection, the improvement of daily operations and the settlement of accounts. The membership of SG3 is diverse and includes Member States as well as service providers (Sector Members), Academia Members and international organizations (such as the World Trade Organization (WTO)).

SG3 is responsible for studies relating to tariff and accounting matters (including costing methodologies) for international telecommunications services. It also studies related telecommunications accounting, economic and policy issues. SG3 is the home for ITU-T D-Series Recommendations (available here). Study Group 3 was entrusted by the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (Dubai, 2012) with the study of 5 Questions.  In 2015, Study Group 3 approved an additional 5 questions, which were endorsed by TSAG in June 2015, for a total of 10 questions available here. Topics being studied by SG3 during the 2013-2016 study period include, inter alia, NGN charging and accounting, international Internet connectivity, international mobile roaming, economic impact of OTTs, identification of relevant markets and significant market power (SMP), use of commercial agreements for international telecommunication services arrangements, international aspects of universal service, economic and competitiveness aspects of mobile financial services, dispute resolution related to charging and invoicing, alternative calling procedures and so on.

The needs of developing countries are an important focus of the group. There are 5 active regional groups of ITU-T SG3 for Africa (SG3RG-AFR), Asia and Oceania (SG3RG-AO), Latin America and the Caribbean (SG3RG-LAC), the Arab Region (SG3RG-ARB) and the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications and the Commonwealth of Independent States (SG3RG-RCC/CIS). 

Work highlights
During the 2009-2012 Study Period, one of the main highlights was the development of a new Recommendation ITU-T D.98 on mobile roaming tariffs.  Furthermore, a revised Recommendation ITU-T D.195 shortened the time-scale for the settlement of accounts for international telecommunication services. A new supplement to Recommendation ITU-T D.211 covering the termination of international short message service (SMS) was also approved.

In May 2013, SG3 approved a new supplement on international internet connectivity. It also approved 4 new supplements on dispute resolution, e.g. on credit management and fraud mitigation for international telecommunication services.

In 2015, the group agreed on a new technical paper "Guide for NRAs on international mobile roaming cost analysis", available here.

At its 2016 meeting, the Study Group determined the following 4 new Recommendations and revised an existing Recommendation:

ITU-T Recommendation on establishing and connecting Regional IXPs to reduce costs of International internet connectivity
ITU-T Recommendation on International Aspects of Universal Service
ITU-T Recommendation on methodological principles for determining international mobile roaming rates
ITU-T Recommendation on Principles for market definition and identification of operators with significant market power (SMP)
Revised ITU-T Recommendation D.271 on Charging and accounting principles for NGN