General Secretariat

4 April 1996

Ref: DM No. 28

Contact: ........Don MacLean
Tel: .............+41 22 730 5201
Fax: ............+41 22 730 5881

TO: all Members and members of the Union
Subject: World Telecommunication Policy Forum, 21 - 23 October 1996

Dear Sir/Madam,

1. The purpose of this letter is to report on preparations for the World Telecommunications Policy Forum on policy and regulatory issues raised by the introduction of Global Mobile Personal Communications by Satellite (GMPCS).

Contributions to the Report of the Secretary-General

2. In Circular Letter DM No. 208, the deadline for contributions from ITU members was set at 25 February 1996. As of this date, we have received 22 contributions; 10 from Member Administrations, and 12 from Sector "members". On this basis, we have begun preparing the report which will serve as the sole working document of the Forum, as provided in Council Resolution 1083.

Reports from the World Telecommunications Advisory Council

3. In order to stimulate discussion of the Forum theme and topics, I have attached two independent reports from the World Telecommunications Advisory Council (WTAC).

4. WTAC was established pursuant to a recommendation of the High Level Committee, with a mandate to give advice to the Secretary-General on issues of policy and strategy facing the ITU.

5. On 18 January 1996, WTAC convened a symposium involving a number of GMPCS operators, telecommunications regulators, and independent experts to discuss the Forum theme. A report of this meeting and a list of participants is available.

6. On 19 January 1996, the 8th WTAC meeting considered the symposium report. On the basis of this discussion, WTAC prepared a report to me giving its advice on the Forum theme. This report and a list of participants in the 8th WTAC meeting is available.

7. In general, WTAC endorsed the symposium report. However, the Council introduced a number of qualifications in its advice to me. In recommending that national policy makers should seek to maximize competition in the provision of GMPCS services within the limits of spectrum availability and the framework of their national telecommunications policy, WTAC noted the sovereign right of each Administration to regulate its telecommunications. WTAC also emphasized the need to pursue the work that has already begun under Kyoto Resolution 18 to review the Union's frequency coordination and planning framework for satellite networks.

A Special Information Session on GMPCS

8. WTAC endorsed a proposal made at the symposium to hold a special one day information session on Sunday, 20 October 1996, the day before the Forum begins. The purpose of this session would be to present factual information regarding GMPCS systems and services and to answer questions from delegates. This would allow the Forum to concentrate on the policy and regulatory issues raised by these systems and services, following the agenda set out in Resolution 1083.

9. In principle, I agree with this proposal. In practice, since it was not foreseen in the budget adopted by the 1995 Council, it will only be possible to organize such an event through voluntary contributions.

Request for Voluntary Cash Contributions

10. In this connection, I wish to recall that Council Resolution 1083 instructed the Secretary­General "to encourage Members and members of the Union and other interested parties to help defray the cost of the Forum through voluntary contributions and also to make voluntary contributions to aid the attendance of the LDCs".

11. I therefore wish to enlarge the appeal I made in Circular Letter DM No. 208 for voluntary contributions, in order to help defray the cost of this special information session and to aid the attendance of the LDCs at this event .

12. Should you wish to make a voluntary contribution please contact Mr. Tazi­Riffi, Chief of the Finance Department (Tel: +41 22 730 5261, Fax: +41 22 730 5916).

Request for Information on Developing Country Concerns

13. In order to help plan this information session, it would be helpful to know what kinds of factual information about GMPCS systems and services Forum delegates would like to receive, either at the session or prior to it, and what questions they would like addressed. It would be particularly helpful to have this information from developing countries, since they so far have made relatively few contributions to the preparatory process.

14. Written contributions to the planning of the special information session should be sent to the ITU by 31 May 1996.

Yours faithfully,