Technological convergence has blurred the lines between
telephony, broadcasting, and online services.
Increasingly, users around the world can download
television programming to their laptops and mobile
phones — and telephone calls are made over the
It is clear from these trends that the telecommunication
and information and communication technology
(ICT) industry is evolving towards a future in
which Internet protocol-based next-generation networks
gradually replace circuit-switched networks,
both for fixed and mobile (3G and 4G) services.
ITU’s latest edition of Trends in Telecommunication Reform, released on 9 March 2010, confirms this
Regulators will play a key role in fostering ongoing
innovation and competition, enabling operators
to adopt the latest, most powerful technologies, and
ensuring consumers enjoy the very best range of
services at the lowest possible prices.
The Trends 2009 report notes that competition
has been the “Holy Grail” of market growth in the
telecommunication sector over the past two decades.
Mobile cellular growth is a clear example of
the strong correlation between opening markets to
competition and the increase in the number of subscriptions.
For example, in developing countries, the
rate of mobile phone subscriptions passed the halfway
mark to reach an estimated 57 per cent in 2009
— more than double what it was in 2005.
A useful tool to monitor such progress is the
ICT Development Index. On 23 February 2010, ITU
released its latest edition of its report “Measuring
the Information Society”. The report features the
ICT Development Index, which compares trends in
159 countries around the world and progress made
between 2007 and 2008.
The top ten countries in the report (in order of
their ranks) are Sweden, Luxembourg, the Republic
of Korea, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland,
Switzerland, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Making effective policy requires clear information
on measurable facts and comparable indicators. The
ICT Development Index is an important tool for policy-makers, service providers and market analysts. It
provides a comprehensive picture of where countries
stand in their evolution towards an inclusive information
As the world’s economy returns to positive growth
this year, the ICT sector looks poised to continue the
quantum leap to the era of IP-based networks and
broadband services. The two ITU reports, highlighted
in this issue of ITU News, paint a bright future ahead
for the ICT industry.