World Telecommunication Policy Forum

Geneva, 21–23 October 1996

Revised report by the Chairman

Policy and Regulatory Issues Raised by the Introduction of Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS)

Part I

1. The ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) was established by Resolution 2 of the Kyoto Plenipotentiary Conference. Its purpose is to provide a forum where ITU Member States and Sector Members can discuss and exchange views and information on emerging telecommunication policy and regulatory matters arising from the changing telecommunications environment. Although the WTPF shall not produce prescriptive regulatory outcomes or outputs with binding force, it shall prepare reports and, where appropriate, opinions for consideration by Members and relevant ITU meetings.

2. By Resolution 1083, the 1995 session of the ITU Council decided to convene the first WTPF in Geneva from 21-23 October 1996, immediately after the World Telecommunication Standardization Conference, to discuss the theme 'Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite' with the following agenda:

"To discuss and exchange views and information on the following policy and regulatory issues raised by the introduction of global mobile personal communications systems and services by satellite:

(a) the resulting globalization of telecommunication services and the scope for international cooperation in this context;

(b) the role of such systems in the provision of basic telecommunication services in developing countries, LDC's, and in rural and remote areas;

(c) measures necessary to achieve transborder use of such mobile terminals;

(d) policy and regulatory issues relevant to such systems and services, in particular those relating to interconnection, with a view to achieving equitable and standard conditions of access;

and to draw up a report, and if possible opinions, for consideration by the Members and relevant ITU meetings."

3. The Policy Forum was held at the Geneva International Conference Centre from 21­23 October, 1996. It was attended by 833 delegates representing 128 Member States and 70 Sector Members. Mr. Jonathan Parapak, Secretary-General of the Department of Tourism, Posts and Telecommunications of the Republic of Indonesia was elected Chairman.

4. The draft Rules of Procedure were approved. The draft agenda was approved, following the amendment of item 8.5 to "Implementation of GMPCS and the Developing Countries"

5. Dr. Pekka Tarjanne, Secretary-General of the ITU, presented a report on the policy and regulatory issues raised by the introduction of GMPCS. In accordance with Council Resolution 1083, this report had incorporated contributions from the ITU membership and had been prepared to serve as the sole document of the Policy Forum. In presenting his report, the Secretary-General underlined the following points which had emerged from Members' contributions:

(a) the Policy Forum should take a broad view of the issues raised by GMPCS as being applicable to all satellite systems, (i.e. fixed and mobile, broadband and narrowband, global and regional, existing and planned)providing telecommunication services directly to end users from a constellation of satellites;

(b) the Policy Forum should, if possible, adopt opinions on

6. Following the presentation of the Secretary-General's report, the Policy Forum heard keynote addresses on the issues identified in Council Resolution 1083.

7. Following these keynote presentations, the Policy Forum engaged in a general discussion of the policy and regulatory issues raised by the introduction of GMPCS. It then considered the draft Opinions contained in the Secretary-General's report and adopted them with modifications, as presented in Part II of this Report.

Part II


The Role of GMPCS in the Globalization of Telecommunications

The First World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva 1996)


a) that, pursuant to the basic provisions of the Constitution of the ITU, the purposes of the Union include:

b) that the concept of technology transfer and the importance of technical training are necessary components of the globalization of telecommunications;


  1. that the emergence of the global information economy and society results from technological progress and the globalization of telecommunication services;
  2. that, as a result of the changes that have taken place in the structure of the world telecommunication sector, the ITU should continue its efforts to establish effective liaison with other multilateral institutions in order to avoid duplication of activities;
  3. that rapid changes in the telecommunication environment and technological progress have led to the development of new telecommunication concepts, including mobile-satellite networks intended to provide global or regional coverage through portable, hand-held terminals;
  4. that such services will probably be provided increasingly on a trans-national basis;
  5. that the development of harmonized policies for global and regional telecommunication systems and the nature of national regulatory responses to such systems are among the most important and difficult new issues facing the ITU and its membership;
  6. that new technologies such as those used by GMPCS systems promise to extend the benefits of such systems to all countries as part of an overall objective of achieving sustainable global development;
  7. that a range of GMPCS systems will provide services using non-geostationary orbits (NGSO) and the geostationary orbit (GSO);

recognizing further

  1. that some forms of GMPCS systems have already been deployed and have entered into service;
  2. that new forms of GMPCS systems are currently being developed to provide communication and information services to the world community in the next several years;
  3. that in addition to the systems currently being developed others will probably be introduced to meet emerging global and domestic telecommunication requirements;


conscious further

is of the view

1. that globalization of telecommunication services through GMPCS should continue and should benefit the user;

2. that implementation of GMPCS systems should complement existing telecommunication infrastructures, taking into account the investments made by the operators of such systems, and offer the potential for further telecommunications development for all countries;


1. national policy makers and regulators, GMPCS system operators and service providers as well as users to work cooperatively within the ITU to facilitate the early introduction of GMPCS, in accordance with the decisions of World Radiocommunication Conferences and subject to the application of the relevant provisions of the Radio Regulations and the particular requirements of each Administration;

2. the Secretary­General to provide periodic information reports to the Member States and Sector Members regarding the introduction and operation of these new GMPCS systems.


The Shared Vision and Principles for
Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS)

The First World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva, 1996),



that these benefits would be achieved through international cooperation, particularly through the ITU, in facilitating the early introduction of GMPCS;

recognizing further


that timely action by national policy-makers and regulatory authorities in licensing GMPCS systems will go far to promote the global and regional availability of GMPCS;

believing also

that the availability of voluntary principles may be of assistance to national policy-makers and regulatory authorities in the discharge of their responsibilities;


its shared vision that the benefits of GMPCS be made available on a global and regional basis;

fully aware


the following set of voluntary principles:

Principle 1 – Early Introduction

In exercizing their sovereign rights in the context of their national legislation and priorities, taking into account inter alia national security, data protection, information security and privacy, States may wish to facilitate the early introduction of GMPCS services, in order to allow people everywhere to share in its benefits.

Principle 2 – International Cooperation

The early introduction of GMPCS and the full realization of its benefits is likely to be facilitated if national policy­makers and regulators, in developing their domestic policies, cooperate to achieve harmonization of such policies through:

Principle 3 – Global Service Availability

The potential of GMPCS to provide services to all areas of the world, including those currently without access to even the most basic telecommunications, is most likely to be realized by simplified regulations and practices. To this effect:

Principle 4 – GMPCS Regulation

National regulators should, in a timely manner, consider the benefits of creating a simplified, non-discriminatory and transparent regulatory environment, particularly with respect to such matters as service licensing, gateway station authorization, interconnection arrangements and user terminals, in which GMPCS services are regulated only to the extent necessary and can be provided under commercially reasonable conditions which permit affordable prices for the customer by:

Principle 5 – Investment Participation

Opportunities for wide multinational participation in the equity ownership of GMPCS systems and services should be encouraged, so that GMPCS development is accelerated through global cooperation and partnership. Those countries and entities investing in GMPCS should enjoy the full benefits and advantages of their investment on a non-discriminatory basis.

Principle 6 – Unauthorized Use

Each system operator shall take steps to inhibit the use of the system in any country which has not authorized GMPCS service.

Principle 7 – User Terminal and Free Circulation

User terminal equipment, including handsets, should be nationally approved on the basis of standards specific to each system and such other relevant international or regional standards and authorized in ways which could facilitate the transborder use of terminals (e.g. class licenses or blanket approvals). International, especially multilateral, arrangements should be developed to achieve compatibility in terminal approvals, facilitate unrestricted international circulation of terminals, and encourage global roaming.

Principle 8 – Universal Access

The global or near global character of GMPCS should permit the provision of basic telecommunication services particularly in those rural and remote areas which may not be reached in an economical way by other means. This may be achieved through:

Principle 9 – Interconnectivity

National policy-makers and regulatory authorities and GMPCS operators should cooperate in ensuring appropriate interconnectivity between GMPCS systems and between these systems and public networks in order to enhance the availability, quality, and profitability of their services and to facilitate the provision of universal service, as well as competition among GMPCS systems and service providers.

Principle 10 – Further Cooperation

National policy-makers and regulatory authorities, GMPCS operators, service providers and manufacturers should cooperate with a view to facilitating coordinated solutions as soon as possible in matters relating to the full implementation of GMPCS.


  1. national regulatory authorities to take these principles into account, in accordance with national laws and international obligations,when licensing GMPCS services in their respective countries;
  2. GMPCS system operators and service providers to take these principles into account in operating their systems.


Essential Studies by the ITU to Facilitate
the Introduction of
Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS)

The First World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva, 1996)


invites the three ITU Sectors

each for matters within its competence, to initiate new studies or pursue current ones, and to reach conclusions as soon as practicable, to facilitate the introduction of GMPCS on a global and regional basis, particularly with respect to:

urges members of the Sectors concerned

to place more importance on their contributions to ITU activities relating to GMPCS in order for the ITU to be able to provide its essential expertise towards the rapid implementation of GMPCS on a global and regional basis.


Establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding
to Facilitate the Free Circulation of Global Mobile Personal Communications
by Satellite User Terminals (GMPCS-MoU)

The First World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva, 1996),


and that free circulation should be in conformity with the laws and policies of the country, and should be limited to the GMPCS systems authorized in the visited country;

considering also

considering further


the draft GMPCS-MoU annexed to this Opinion for comment and further study without commitment;

requests the Secretary General

1. to circulate the annexed draft GMPCS-MoU to Administrations, GMPCS operators, service providers, manufacturers, and members of the ITU Sectors, with an invitation to comment by 31 December 1996;

2. to convene early in 1997 an "informal group" of Administrations, GMPCS operators, service providers, and manufacturers to consider the comments received and improve the GMPCS-MoU;

3. to circulate the improved GMPCS-MoU to Administrations, GMPCS operators, service providers, manufacturers, and members of the ITU Sectors, with an invitation to sign, if they so wish;

4. to host the first meeting of the signatories and intended signatories to the GMPCS-MoU during the first semester of 1997, in order to begin work on arrangements relating to free circulation of terminals as specified in the Articles of the MoU;

5. to act as a depository of a GMPCS-MoU and publish periodically an updated list of signatories;


Administrations, GMPCS operators, service providers and manufacturers to sign the MoU, and participate actively in its work, with a view to completing the initial set of arrangements by 1 July 1997, and to consider thereafter the need for further cooperation to facilitate the full implementation of GMPCS.


Draft Memorandum of Understanding
to Facilitate the Free Circulation of
Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite User Terminals

Convinced of the need to reach regional, and preferably global, arrangements on issues related to the three levels of free circulation of user terminals defined as follows:

that such arrangements would necessarily include the conditions pursuant to which Administrations would grant mutual recognition of type approval of terminals, mutual recognition of terminal licensing, recognize the marking of terminals, and permit terminals to be placed on the market; and that such arrangements could form the basis of national regulations on these matters, or be implemented by reference;

the Parties to this Memorandum of Understanding hereby agree to cooperate, according to their respective roles and competencies and taking into account the voluntary principles for GMPCS adopted by WTPF 96 on the following issues:

Article 1 Type Approval of Terminals

The Parties shall develop arrangements on the essential requirements necessary for the type approval of terminals, and the means by which such approvals shall be mutually recognized. That the type approval standards should be based on the relevant ITU Recommendations, and should be impartial with respect to all GMPCS technologies, and without reference to performance or quality of service standards.

Article 2 Licensing of Terminals

The Parties shall develop arrangements on the means by which licenses should be granted based on general licenses (e.g. class licenses or blanket approvals). That such arrangements shall be drawn up andinclude the means by which these general licenses shall be mutually recognized.

Article 3 Marking of Terminals

The Parties shall develop arrangements on the marking of terminals which will permit their recognition and the implementation of the arrangements on mutual recognition of type approval and licensing.

Article 4 Customs Arrangements

The Parties shall develop recommendations to their competent authorities proposing exemption of approved terminals from customs restrictions when visiting or transiting countries.

Article 5 Review

The Parties shall periodically review the results and consequences of their cooperation under this Memorandum of Understanding. When appropriate the Parties will consider the need for improvements in their cooperation and make suitable proposals for modifying and updating the arrangements, and the scope of this GMPCS-MoU.

Article 6 Access to Traffic Data

The Parties shall develop arrangements for GMPCS operators to provide, on a confidential basis, within a reasonable period of time to any duly authorized national authority which so requests, the best available traffic data concerning traffic originating in or routed to its national territory, and to assist it with any measures intended to identify unauthorized traffic flows therein.

Done in Geneva:




Implementation of GMPCS in Developing Countries

The First World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva, 1996)


that GMPCS systems offer significant benefits to the public both in the developing and developed countries;

recognizing further

that while the benefits and potential of GMPCS have not been challenged, nevertheless some countries have concerns about the political, economic, social and cultural impacts of the emerging new systems;


considering further


of the view

that it would be useful to study, as a matter of urgency, the policy, social, cultural and economic impacts of the new systems and to identify the net benefits that developing countries may derive from them;


  1. GMPCS system operators and service providers to consider including as part of their corporate mission the commitment to offer their services as a further means to contribute to the attainment by developing countries of the goal of universal access;
  1. GMPCS system operators, gateway operators, and service providers to take reasonable steps to ensure that their access and utilization charges are set at a level that would make this service as widely utilized as possible including in rural and remote areas and areas lacking conventional infrastructure in developing countries, taking into account the cost of providing service and the economic situation in developing countries;
  1. GMPCS system operators consider providing some capacity at reasonable cost in support of service provision to areas lacking conventional infrastructure in developing countries;
  1. GMPCS gateway operators to consider offering transport tariffs at reasonable cost in support of service provision to rural and remote areas in developing countries;

invites the Director of the BDT, in liaison with the Directors of the other Bureaus

1. to establish a group of experts especially from developing countries to carry out the following tasks:

2. to prepare a report to the next World Telecommunication Development Conference based on the studies carried out by the group of experts.;

urges further

developing countries to communicate their concerns and needs to the BDT.