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Study Group 3 at a glance

​ITU-T Study Group 3 - Tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues

ITU-T Study Group 3 provides a unique global forum to improve the understanding of the financial and economic aspects associated with the growth of ICT, particularly with respect to the shift to IP-based and NGN/Future Networks and the exponential rise in mobile wireless communications.

The traditional mandate of SG3, which continues today, dates back to the early days of the International Telegraph Union (in the 1800s) in terms of interconnection, the improvement of daily operations and the settlement of accounts. The membership of SG3 is diverse and includes Member States as well as service providers (Sector Members), Academia Members and international organizations (such as the World Trade Organization (WTO)).  SG3 is the home for ITU-T D-Series Recommendations (or standards), available here.

More specifically, ITU-T SG3 is responsible, inter alia, for studying international telecommunication/ICT policy and economic issues and tariff and accounting matters (including costing principles and methodologies), with a view to informing the development of enabling regulatory models and frameworks.  SG3 is also tasked with the study of the  economic and regulatory impact of the Internet, convergence (services or infrastructure) and new services, such as OTT, on international telecommunication services and networks.

In November 2016, Study Group 3 was entrusted by the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16) with the study of 11 questions, including a new question on the economic and policy aspects of big data and digital identity in international telecommunications services and networks. Other topics studied by SG3 include, among others:  NGN charging and accounting, mobile financial services, international Internet connectivity, international mobile roaming, economic impact of OTTs, identification of relevant markets and significant market power (SMP), use of commercial agreements for international telecommunication services arrangements, international aspects of universal service, economic and competitiveness aspects of mobile financial services, dispute resolution related to charging and invoicing, alternative calling procedures and so on.

The needs of developing countries are an important focus of the group. There are 5 active regional groups of ITU-T SG3 for Africa (SG3RG-AFR), Asia and Oceania (SG3RG-AO), Latin America and the Caribbean (SG3RG-LAC), the Arab Region (SG3RG-ARB) and the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications and the Commonwealth of Independent States (SG3RG-RCC/CIS).

Work highlights  
During the 2013-2016 Study Period, SG3 agreed on the following 4 new Recommendations which were subsequently approved by WTSA-16 in Hammamet (Tunisia), in November 2016: 

ITU-T D.52 on establishing and connecting Regional IXPs to reduce costs of International internet connectivity
ITU-T D.53 on International Aspects of Universal Service
ITU-T D.97 on methodological principles for determining international mobile roaming rates
ITU-T D.261 on Principles for market definition and identification of operators with significant market power (SMP)

In addition to the new Recommendations above, WTSA-16 also approved a revised Recommendation ITU-T D.271 on Charging and accounting principles for NGN. Other highlights from the study period include the publication in 2015 of a technical paper on roaming:  "Guide for NRAs on international mobile roaming cost analysis".   SG3 also approved a new supplement on international internet connectivity. On the topic of dispute resolution, at the beginning of the last study period in 2013, 4 new supplements were approved by the group, e.g. on credit management and fraud mitigation for international telecommunication services (see e.g. ITU-T D.195). During the 2009-2012 Study Period, the first international agreement of its kind on mobile roaming tariffs, Recommendation ITU-T D.98, was approved by SG3.  In addition, a revised Recommendation ITU-T D.195 shortened the time-scale for the settlement of accounts for international telecommunication services, and a new supplement to Recommendation ITU-T D.211 covering the termination of international short message service (SMS) was also approved.