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Tells you what's happening in Telecommunications around the world

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Editorial
A bright future ahead for the ICT industry
Dr Hamadoun Touré
photo credit: ITU/J.M. Ferré
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General

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 Internet protocol.

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 transformation.

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 society.

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.

 

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