Your Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Governmental Sector
Development and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of the Telecommunications
Sector, our gracious host, Mr. Mohamed Al Ghanim, Director-General, Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority, United Arab Emirates, distinguished Chairmen, Directors General
and Presidents of the Regulatory Authorities, members of the private sector, invited
guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my greatest pleasure to welcome you to the 7th annual Global Symposium
for Regulators. I would like to extend a special word of thanks to our host, Mr.
Al-Ghanim, for inviting us to hold the GSR here in the United Arab Emirates, and
for his kind acceptance to chair this year's GSR. He and his entire staff have gone
out of their way to welcome us with true Emirates hospitality.
We have gathered here to discuss the road to next-generation networks. The road
to NGNs marks a turning point for the industry, consumers, and for policy makers
and regulators. Today also marks a turning point for my career in the ICT sector.
The last time I addressed the Global Symposium for Regulators, I stood before you
as Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau. Now, thanks to your kind
support at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, I stand before you as
the new ITU Secretary-General.
I also stand on this podium together with the new BDT Director, Mr. Sami Al Basheer
Al Morshid, my friend and colleague. While I will always remain active in the GSR
as ITU Secretary-General, I now pass on immediate responsibility for the GSR to
Mr. Al Basheer. I have every confidence in his ability to ensure that the GSR continues
to thrive and meet your needs. I would also like to especially recognize the participation
in this GSR of Messrs. Matthias Kurth and Marc Furrer. I am grateful that you continue
to support ITU and the GSR by your presence here in Dubai.
Of course, any transition is bittersweet. I will miss my role in the Way Forward
Session of the GSR that has always brought forward excellent suggestions on how
we can best respond to your pressing concerns. However, I look forward to the challenges
As you know, my campaign for the post of ITU Secretary-General stressed several
important issues: bridging the digital divide, cybersecurity and emergency communications.
Regulatory reform is of key importance to all three. That is why I was delighted
when the ITU Plenipotentiary adopted Resolution GT-Plen/4 on the Global Symposium
for Regulators (GSR) in Antalya. This resolution crystallizes the will of ITU members
to hold the GSR on an annual basis, and ensures that only a future Plenipotentiary
could change this decision. This Resolution also recognizes the key role that regulators
play within ITU. This reflects the key role of regulatory reform in the growth of
the ICT sector.
Regulatory reform is at the very heart of the tremendous progress developing countries
have already made to improve access to ICTs. Liberalization and competition have
brought far greater benefits over the past few years than decades of universal access
efforts channeled through incumbents. During
the time that I served as BDT Director, the number of mobile subscribers in developing
countries increased from a little over 165 million in 1999 to nearly 1.4 billion
by the end of 2005. Sixty three percent of the total 2.2 billion mobile
subscribers worldwide in 2005 were in developing and emerging countries like Brazil,
China, India, Pakistan and Russia which are continuing to push these numbers ever
The widespread deployment of mobile services is the result of regulatory reform
� the licensing of competitive operators � combined with innovative business practices
� such as pre-paid cards�and leveraging new technological developments, such as
less costly mobile networks and new applications like SMS. These three factors:
regulatory reform, innovative business practices, and leveraging new technological
developments will continue to drive growth in the ICT industry, and enable developing
countries to bridge the digital divide. The trick now is to extend the success of
the mobile miracle to broadband internet access, and from there to next-generation
networks, services and applications.
Regulatory reform -- and your work over the next three days -- is vital to the essence
of the ITU's mission. We need to work together to leverage the promises of next
generation networks to ensure that the WSIS targets of connecting all the world's
villages to ICT by 2015 are met. I invite all of you to re-double your efforts at
home to ensure that these WSIS targets become a reality.
I can ensure you that the whole of ITU will play its part. TSB is developing the
technical standards for NGN networks to ensure interoperability between different
vendors' user terminals and network equipment. The deployment of NGNs in developing
countries will rely heavily on wireless technologies, and BR will play a key role
in ensuring the necessary spectrum for these services is allocated so that developing
countries can benefit from economies of scale in the production and manufacture
of equipment and network infrastructure. BDT will ensure that the benefits of NGNs
are realized by all of the world's people.
I can also assure you that the newly elected ITU management team is working together,
coordinating efforts between and among the three sectors and the general secretariat.
We have also renewed our pledge to coordinate and work closely with our partners,
cementing existing relationships while forging ties with new partners. I am delighted
that some of our key partners in the field of regulatory reform, infoDev
and the World Bank, are here today. I am also pleased to announce that ITU is forging
close ties with Telecom Sans Frontieres to increase our effectiveness in ensuring
emergency communications. I have also instructed
my staff to re-double their efforts to increase the number of ITU Sector Members.
I know that several members of the private sector who were not ITU-D members have
decided to become ITU-D members to enjoy the benefits of the GSR. I thank you for
this support and welcome you to the fold.
As part of improved coordination, I have made efforts to provide better support
to BDT in the organization of this year's GSR. For example, ITU Corporate Communications
is ensuring better media coverage of the GSR. I intend to build on this in the years
to come to ensure that BDT gets the support it needs to guarantee that GSR flourishes.
The road to NGNs requires both long-range and short-term actions. It is by no means
certain that the vision of NGNs we have today will become a reality. Certainly the
kinds of next-generation networks deployed and the services offered will vary country
by country, region by region. One key issue is interconnection -- to ensure that
competitive bottlenecks remain open. Many regulators have already begun these discussions
to plan for the road ahead. For other regulators, issues like universal access,
quality of service, the enabling environment and international internet connectivity,
are more pressing, requiring more immediate attention.
As I mentioned, the third plank in my campaign platform was cyber-security. Like
NGNs, cybersecurity requires both long-range planning and short-term action. Short-term,
the time is ripe to beef up anti-spam laws and to ensure they are vigorously enforced.
Enforcement of anti-spam laws is today's missing link in the fight against spam
and the viruses, phishing attacks and other cybersecurity threats spam carries.
The model-anti-spam law we presented at the last GSR is a good place at which to
begin these discussions.
The migration to NGNs represents a unique opportunity to analyze and evolve our
regulatory frameworks. Often, in times of great change, what's needed is a return
to the basics. While the future of NGN development is far from clear, we can all
use one guiding principle in designing our regulatory frameworks: How can we craft
the best regulatory framework to achieve the WSIS objective of ensuring that all
of the world's people have access to ICTs?
I hope these thoughts will guide our discussions over the next few days.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don't wish to take any more of your valuable time. I wish
you all a fruitful and frank exchange.