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Date:23 May 1997 Time:Page 1/5 Ref:DM-1051
To:Participants in GMPCS MoU "Informal Group"
and Signatories and Intended Signatories Meetings (14 February and 3-4 April 1997)
From:Don MacLean, Strategic Planning Unit For your reply:
Fax: +41 22 730 5881 Tel: +41 22 730 5201
Subject:GMPCS MoU

Dear Sir/Madam,

On behalf of the Chairman of the GMPCS MoU Group, I am pleased to enclose the Chairman's Report of the Meeting of Signatories and Intended Signatories that took place in Geneva on 3 & 4 April 1997.

The Chairman has asked me to report that there will be the following modifications to the work programme and timetable set out in paragraph 14 of his report:

The Chairman has asked me to apologize for the delays in preparation of the revised draft arrangements and for any inconvenience which these changes in the work programme and timetable may have caused.

Yours sincerely,

Donald J. MacLean
Head, Strategic Planning Unit


Meeting of Signatories and Intended Signatories
(Geneva, 3 &4 April 1997)


11 April 1997


Chairman's Report

GMPCS Memorandum of Understanding

Geneva, 3 & 4 April 1997

  1. As requested in Opinion 4 of the World Telecommunication Policy Forum, by Circular Letter No. 34 of 25 February 1997, the Secretary-General circulated the final Memorandum of Understanding to Facilitate Arrangements for Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite, Including Regional Systems (GMPCS-MoU) which resulted from the informal group meeting of 14 February 1997 to Member States, GMPCS operators, providers, manufacturers and members of the ITU Sectors, with an invitation of sign. By the same letter, he invited these parties to attend a first meeting of signatories and intended signatories to the GMPCS-MoU, to take place in the Geneva International Conference Centre on 3 & 4 April 1997, in order to begin work on arrangements relating to the issues set out in the GMPCS-MoU.

  1. The meeting was attended by 132 delegates representing 39 ITU Member States and 28 ITU Sector Members.
  2. The meeting opened under the chairmanship of Mr. E. N. Olekambainei, Director-General of the Tanzania Communications Commission, who had been selected as the leader of the informal group and the focal point for the further development and implementation of the GMPCS-MoU at the 14 February meeting. In opening the meeting, the Chairman introduced as Vice-Chairmen Mr. M. Kennedy (Motorola) and Mr. P. Lansman (Finland), who had been selected as leaders of GMPCS-MoU projects 1 and 2 respectively at the 14 February meeting, as well as Mr. J. T. Lee (Korea) who had subsequently been selected, as agreed at the same meeting, as leader of GMPCS-MoU project 3.

  1. Dr. Henry Chasia, Deputy Secretary-General of the ITU, gave a welcoming address to participants in the meeting in which he stressed the continuing commitment of the ITU to the GMPCS-MoU.
  2. The agenda was approved as presented.
  3. Mr. Nabil Kisrawi, Chairman of the Group of Experts which had been established pursuant to Opinion 5 of the WTPF gave a report on the first meeting of the group which had taken place in Geneva on 1 - 2 April. As a first order of business, the Group of Experts had developed a check list of factors which developing country regulators should take into account when licensing GMPCS services. This check list included the matters being dealt with by the GMPCS MoU group. However, he stressed that there would be no duplication of effort and the work of the two groups should be mutually complementary and reinforcing. To the extent possible, it would be desirable to coordinate meetings of the two groups.

  1. The Chairman then called upon the Vice-Chairmen to present the working documents which had been prepared on the three GMPCS-MoU projects. Following these presentations, he asked the delegates of Japan, the United States of America, Canada, and the European Commission to present the information documents which they had submitted as contributions to the meeting. In response to questions regarding the language policies of the GMPCS MoU group, the Chairman indicated that:

7.1 documents which required the signature of ITU Member States would be produced in the six official ITU languages;

7.2 working documents of meetings would be produced in the three usual ITU working languages;

7.3 following the policy established for the WTPF, information documents would be produced and distributed at the expense of those wishing to provide them;

7.4 since there are no provisions in the ITU budget to fund the work of the GMPCS-MoU group, language costs - as well as all others - would need to be supported through voluntary contributions.

8. Following the presentation of working and information documents, the Chairman called for a general discussion of items related to all three GMPCS-MoU projects, in order to identify the points on which further work needed to be done so that revised versions of the draft arrangements could be prepared overnight by the Vice-Chairmen for consideration the following day. Among the main points of discussion were the following:

8.1 With respect to project 1 (Type Approval and Marking) much of the discussion centred on the question of how best to reconcile the different legal and regulatory regimes that exist in different countries. There was general agreement that different approaches might be taken in the short term to facilitate the early introduction of GMPCS, and in the longer term through the possible development of global mutual recognition arrangements.

8.2 With respect to project 2 (Licensing) there was general satisfaction with the draft arrangements proposed in working document 2.

8.3 With respect to project 3 (Customs and Traffic Data), there was general agreement that the issues should be de-linked and treated as separate arrangements.

- With respect to customs, there was discussion on the nature of arrangements which would be appropriate to a domain which falls outside the competence of GMPCS-MoU participants. Distinctions were made between the arrangements appropriate to terminals brought into a country for personal use vis-à-vis terminals brought into a country to be placed on the market. In the former case, it was suggested that the Istanbul Convention might provide a useful precedent for dealing with GMPCS terminals for personal use. In the latter case, normal customs provisions would apply, and it was suggested that the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Information Technology might provide useful precedents.

- With respect to traffic data, discussion revolved around the nature of the data to be provided by GMPCS operators, the capability of different classes of GMPCS systems to provide this data. It was generally agreed that aggregate data would be appropriate and that it would be unreasonable to retroactively apply requirements to GMPCS systems which had not been designed with a positioning capability. However, this latter point would be a matter for each country to decide on the basis of a balance between costs and benefits. It was also generally agreed that a distinction should be made between data requested from a GMPCS service provider by a national regulator as a result of a licensing agreement between them, and data requested by from a GMPCS system operator by a national regulator who had not authorized the provision of GMPCS services using that system. It was also agreed that a further distinction that may need to be made in these two cases is whether the national regulator is a party to the arrangement. It was further generally agreed that the former relationship posed no unusual problems and was part of the normal licensing process. However, it was recognized that the latter relationship raised new issues which might involve mutual commitments between national regulators as well as between regulators and GMPCS system operators and service providers.

9. Throughout this discussion, the Chairman emphasized that the arrangements to be developed under the GMPCS-MoU are not intended to be a treaty or to substitute for national laws and regulations. Rather, they would provide a set of principles or guidelines which Member States who are parties to the arrangements would commit themselves to implementing in their national laws and regulations, in the manner and to the extent they saw fit, with the possibility of withdrawing from the arrangements if they so wished. At the same time, non-government parties would also commit to applying these principles in their activities. The arrangements developed under the GMPCS-MoU were therefore not intended to be "global regulations" and no attempt would be made in the short term to develop a uniform set of arrangements applicable to every participating country, even though such a possibility might be considered in the longer run. However, although adherence to the GMPCS-MoU and to the arrangements developed under it was voluntary, once commitments had been made and as long as they were maintained, parties should consider themselves bound to respect their commitments.

10. When the meeting resumed the next day, it had before it revised working papers that had been prepared overnight by the project leaders with the assistance of informal working groups. On the basis of the previous day's discussion, the Chairman proposed that four sets of draft arrangements should be prepared for consideration at the next meeting - for type approval and marking; licensing; customs; and traffic data. Before addressing the substance of the revised working documents, the Chairman asked for views on the format of the draft arrangements that should be prepared.

11. In the ensuing discussion, there was general agreement that the four arrangements should be encapsulated in a single document. This document would have a preamble referring to the ITU Constitution and Convention, Opinions 2 and 4 of the WTPF and to the GMPCS MoU, and separate chapters on each of the arrangements, each of which would require a signature or commitment by an appropriate authority who would need to be defined. It was confirmed that parties to the arrangements would include GMPCS system operators, service providers, manufacturers, as well as national regulators.

12. Since the arrangements are intended to set out principles or guidelines that would be applied in each country according to its own legal framework and traditions, ways would have to be found to accommodate this diversity. It was suggested that this might be done by developing a standard form for scheduling commitments and listing limitations under each of the arrangements; if maintained and updated as a database, this would facilitate comparison and understanding of the situation in different countries. An alternative would be for parties to express reservations. It was pointed out that since the arrangements are intended to confer benefits on parties, limitations in their application would necessarily be reflected in limitations on benefits. Questions were also raised about dispute settlement mechanisms and about the legal effect of the arrangements. The Chairman undertook to look at these questions in more detail before the next meeting, and stressed the need to approach the question in a positive spirit with the aim of facilitating the early introduction of GMPCS to the mutual benefit of all signatories and consumers in particular.

13. In drafting arrangements for consideration at the next meeting, it was agreed that as in the GMPCS MoU, references should be to "circulation" rather than "free circulation", to "will" rather than "shall" and that reference should be made to regional systems throughout to reflect the title of the MoU. Further thought would also be given to the definition of GMPCS for purposes of the arrangements, including the question of how to accommodate GMPCS services provided from a single satellite instead of a constellation.

14. In summing up, the Chairman proposed the following way of proceeding:

14.1 on the basis of the discussions, the project leaders would re-draft the arrangements and cast them in a single document;

14.2 the revised draft arrangements would be disseminated by the end of April with an invitation to comment;

14.3 on the basis of the comments received, a core group would be convened by the Chairman to resolve outstanding issues and prepare an improved draft for consideration at the next meeting of the GMPCS MoU group;

14.4 although 16-17 June had been tentatively identified as the date of the next meeting, this posed a problem because of a CITEL meeting at the same time;

14.5 participants were requested to keep those dates free in their agendas as the possible date of a core group meeting;

14.6 the date of the next meeting would be confirmed at the end of April when the revised draft arrangements are disseminated.

15. This procedure was agreed and the meeting adjourned.