|ITU Deputy Secretary-General Houlin Zhao with
President Ramos Horta of Timor-Leste during his visit
to the country on 21 July 2010
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste became
ITU’s 192nd Member State on 24 August 2010. The
country, which gained its independence on 20 May
2002 to become the 21st century’s first new sovereign
State, utilizes the international dialling code
+670, assigned by ITU in 2002.
“We are delighted to welcome Timor-Leste to the
ITU fold, and hope that by working together we will
help drive rapid ICT development across the country,”
said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré.
“Small island States such as Timor-Leste can benefit
enormously from the power of modern connectivity,
particularly in the areas of mobile and wireless broadband.
ITU is committed to connecting the world, and
Timor-Leste’s accession to the Union helps us further
In 2006, the World Telecommunication
Development Conference adopted Resolution 25 in
which it recognized that a reliable telecommunication
network is indispensable for promoting socioeconomic
development, especially of countries that
have suffered natural disasters, domestic conflicts or
war. It also recognized that these countries (which
include Timor-Leste) will not be able to bring their
telecommunication systems up to an acceptable level
without help from the international community. ITU
Member States were called upon to offer all possible
assistance and support to the governments of these
countries, either bilaterally or through ITU activities.
Timor-Leste’s mountainous terrain presents challenges
in connecting its people. ITU figures (from
2009) show fixed-line telephone teledensity (number
of fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants) as low
as 0.2 per cent, with mobile penetration at 29.1 per
cent. Mobile connectivity is growing very strongly,
with over 200 per cent growth reported in 2009.
Timor-Leste will participate for the first time in the
Plenipotentiary Conference, which will take place in
Guadalajara, Mexico on 4–22 October 2010, adding
its voice to the world’s most enduring ICT institution.