Committed to connecting the world

ITU 150

What does ITU do?

ITU has three main areas of activity organized in ‘Sectors’ which work through conferences and meetings.


Satellites enable phone calls, television programmes, satellite navigation and online maps. Space services are vital in monitoring and transmitting changes in such data as ocean temperature, vegetation patterns and greenhouse gases – helping us predict famines, the path of a hurricane, or how the global climate is changing. The explosive growth of wireless communications, particularly to provide broadband services, demonstrates the need for global solutions to address the need for additional radio spectrum allocations and harmonized standards to improve interoperability. ITU's  Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) coordinates this vast and growing range of radiocommunication services, as well as the international management of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. An increasing number of players need to make use of these limited resources, and participating in ITU-R conferences and study group activities – where important work is done on mobile broadband communications and broadcasting technologies such as Ultra HDTV and 3D TV – is becoming an ever-higher priority for both governments and industry players.


ITU standards (called Recommendations) are fundamental to the operation of today’s ICT networks. Without ITU standards you couldn’t make a telephone call or surf the Internet. For Internet access, transport protocols, voice and video compression, home networking, and myriad other aspects of ICTs, hundreds of ITU standards allow systems to work – locally and globally. For instance, the Emmy award-winning standard ITU-T H.264 is now one of the most popular standards for video compression. In a typical year, ITU will produce or revise upwards of 150 standards covering everything from core network functionality to next-generation services such as IPTV. If your product or service requires any kind of international buy-in, you need to be part of the standardization discussions in ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) .


ITU's Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) has a programme to offer you – whether you are interested in entering or expanding your presence in emerging markets, demonstrating global ICT leadership, learning how to put good policy into practice, or pursuing your mandate for corporate social responsibility. In an increasingly networked world, expanding access to ICTs globally is in everybody's interest. ITU champions a number of major initiatives which encompass ITU's internationally-accorded mandate to ‘bridge the digital divide’, such as its ITU Connect events or Connect a School, Connect a Community. ITU also regularly publishes the industry’s most comprehensive and reliable ICT statistics.