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ITU welcomes Timor-Leste as its 192nd Member State
Photo credit:
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 that dream.”

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.


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