Speech from Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General

51st ETSI General Assembly
Nice, France
26 March 2008

Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be with you today at this special day. On behalf of the ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun Touré, and the ITU elected officials, we warmly congratulate ETSI on its twentieth anniversary, and all it has achieved in that time.

Over 20 years, ETSI has made enormous efforts to satisfy the European ICT market and to contribute to the world ICT market by its products and its activities. Time is not enough to introduce all those details. However, I would like to mention a few familiar names: ISM (ISDN standard management), GSM, DECT, IMS, TETRA, UMTS, TIPHON, EASI (European ATM Service Interoperability), etc. In the international arena, ETSI is very active in various organizations such as 3GPP, EMTEL, GSC, ICANN, MESA. ETSI should be proud of its history!

Since its creation in 1988, ETSI and ITU have enjoyed many years of fruitful collaboration. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between ETSI and ITU in the year 2000 when I was Director of TSB was to underline our commitment to collaborate together. Malcolm Johnson, the current Director of the TSB gave a presentation here last year that highlighted the many examples of collaboration that characterize the working relationship between the two organizations. Clearly much has been done to create more efficiency in the standards world, especially through mechanisms such as the Global Standards Collaboration (GSC) and ICANN.

I would like to say a few words on ITU and its recent changes.

ITU’s current standardization topics include cybersecurity, NGN, IPTV, emergency telecommunication, transport and access networks and radio access technologies.

ITU’s standardization activity has gone through many changes in the last few years. In 2001 ITU T started the alternative approval process (AAP). Over 90% of ITU T standards are now in effect adopted by AAP. And the approval time is now less than 9 weeks on average. ITU-R also speeds up its processes. ITU–T Focus Groups are another innovation. These groups are open to anyone to participate (not just ITU members). They adopt their own working methods and meet frequently to generate a critical mass of work which can then be transferred into the formal standards setting mechanism. ITU-T has also begun a series of regional Forums to encourage developing countries to participate in the standards making process. We have established a voluntary fund to help in this activity and I would invite you to contribute to this activity which is not only good for developing countries but also good for the industry.

As ITU’s Sector Member, ETSI has supported ITU activities, including ITU-T, ITU-R and the other activities. ITU has also benefited from ETSI’s experiences. The most important ITU initiative of recent years was to follow ETSI’s example by giving free access to ITU-T Recommendations. In 2006 only a few thousand ITU-T Recommendations were sold to developing countries; in 2007, after allowing free access, some 3 million were downloaded.

ITU received a more and more active participation of developing countries from Asia, Africa and the Arab region. While I noted the membership change in ETSI, the European membership in ITU stay more or less the same level as some years back. By some criteria, I would say Europe has become less active, if not less important, in some areas. I do wish to see a more active role Europe could take, and should take, and I do wish to see more European companies to join ITU. It will cost your company less than 20,000 Euros to become an ITU Sector Member, much cheaper than your membership fee in fora or even in ETSI. If you join ITU as an Associate, it will cost you about 6,000 Euros. ITU welcomes you.

Mr. Chairman,
Dear participants,

Please allow me to share with you some other information on the recent and the near future ITU activities:

  1. In October/November 2007, ITU hosted the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly and World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) with over 3 000 delegates representing 161 Member States and 101 Observers attending. WRC-07 addressed issues in terrestrial and satellite radio services and applications, including meteorological applications, aeronautical mobile services, digital broadcasting and emergency communications. It revised the technical and regulatory provisions for the Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) Plan for applications including television and the Internet. WRC-07 adopted the revised Radio Regulations which will govern spectrum allocation to meet the global connectivity goals of the 21st century.
  2. Two weeks ago ITU organized in Pattaya, Thailand, the 1st Global Industry Leaders’ Forum (GILF), 10 March 2008 followed by the 8th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), 11 13 March 2008. GILF 2008 covered regulatory and policy issues related to universal access/rural connectivity, emergency telecommunications and stimulating business investment and expansion. The theme of the 8th Annual GSR was Six Degrees of Sharing: Innovative infrastructure sharing and open access strategies to promote affordable access for all. There were 800 participants. ITU provides the unique platform for 150 regulators, to exchange their experiences and to share their views. To understand better the current situation of the world ICT markets, and to influence the future of the markets, I would invite you to join the future activities of the GSR and GILF.
  3. ITU organizes this year TELECOM Africa 2008 in Cairo, Egypt, from 12 to 15 May 2008, and TELECOM Asia in Thailand in September 2008. TELECOM events will explore the latest technologies and infrastructure solutions in deployment across the world, and in particular in Africa and in Asia, the two most dynamic telecom markets in the world today. These events will also investigate future growth prospects, business strategies that have succeeded and much more. Your company’s presence at these events is a must, either as an independent Exhibitor, a National Pavilion, a sponsor, a speaker or just a Forum participant. We invite you to join us at these events.
  4. The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08) will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 21 to 31 October 2008, the first time in Africa. WTSA will decide the future of the standards making activity of ITU T. It will also be for the first time preceded by a Global Standardization Symposium (GSS) on 20 October 2008. The GSS will see leading figures in the telecom/ICT field, both from government and the industry, give their vision of the future, and suggest ways of increasing the involvement of developing countries in the development and implementation of standards – the so-called bridging of the standardization gap. The event will also examine global ICT standards challenges, such as accessibility, climate change and collaboration among standards development organisations (SDOs). The GSS will offer participants a unique opportunity to provide input to WTSA-08. On behalf of the Secretary-General I would like to extend an invitation to ETSI and you all to participate in the GSS and the WTSA.

Mr. Chairman,
Dear delegates,

To conclude, I wish to express our sincere appreciation on ETSI’s 20th anniversary and our best wishes to ETSI for its future, and my great pleasure to see so many friends at this GA.

Happy birthday!

Thank you very much.