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Press release: ITU standardization takes up strong position to power...

ITU standardization takes up strong position to power the smart 5G era

WTSA-16 accelerates support for standards work on 5G, IoT, smart cities and fintech

Geneva, 07 November 2016

​ITU membership has called for ITU's standardization arm to expand its study of the wireline networking innovations required to achieve the ambitious performance targets of smart 5G systems. This call has come in parallel with ITU members' reaffirmation of the importance of ITU's standardization work to drive the coordinated development of ultra-high-speed transport networks, the Internet of Things, future video technologies, and smart cities and communities.

ITU members have also encouraged ITU standardization to increase digital financial inclusion; promote affordable mobile roaming tariffs; and strengthen consumer protection and ICT service quality. Members have in addition called for ITU standardization to support the use of cloud computing to record event data from aircraft, vehicles and other connected machinery.  

These directives of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly 2016 (WTSA-16) held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 25 October to 3 November, have given further impetus to ITU standardization work aimed at supporting government, industry and academia in achieving their priorities for year 2020 and beyond. The conference, which takes place every four years, gathered up to 1000 delegates from 92 countries to deliberate on a wide range of standardization topics critical to the next phase of innovation in ICT.

The Assembly also reviews the structure and working methods of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) and elects the teams that will lead ITU-T's expert groups. Another key focus of WTSA is to review ITU-T's mechanisms for collaboration with other standards bodies and the many vertical sectors applying ICTs as enabling technologies.

"WTSA-16 has achieved a range of victories for international collaboration," said Moktar Mnakri, Chairman of WTSA-16. "The diverse membership of ITU-T has reached a series of agreements to assist all regions of the world in their efforts to share in the social and economic benefits that will be accelerated by ICTs in coming years."

"I would like to commend Tunisia for the visionary role that it continues to play in promoting the use of ICTs to drive sustainable development," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "The country's hosting of WTSA-16 has made valuable contributions to ITU's work to broker consensus on policy and technical questions crucial to the development of the global ICT ecosystem. The discussions of WTSA have provided ample evidence of the importance of ITU standardization work in driving global connectivity and innovation."

"The deliberations of WTSA-16 have demonstrated the great spirit of collaboration for which ITU membership is well known," said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "Our members have worked tirelessly to reach agreement on the future shape of ITU-T, ensuring that it is fit for purpose to deliver standards capable of providing an equitable basis for ICT innovation worldwide. ITU-T has emerged from WTSA-16 in a strong position to support the development of the trusted ICT infrastructure essential to the success of smart 5G systems supported by ultra-high-speed transport networks, the Internet of Things and Smart Sustainable Cities."

Alongside adopting 15 new WTSA Resolutions and revising 31, the Assembly also revised two of the A series ITU-T Recommendations that guide ITU-T's work, and in addition approved five ITU standards on subjects including international mobile roaming and Internet Exchange Points.  

A series of informative side events was also held in conjunction with WTSA-16, including:

  • The CCITT/ITU-T 60th Anniversary Talks, which hosted high-profile speakers to explore the role of standards in supporting innovation in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Financial Services.
  • The first CxO Meeting in the Arab and Africa Regions, which assembled high-level executives from companies such as Alibaba, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, KT, Orange, Sofetel and Tunisie Télécom.

  • The first meeting of the ITU Women in Standardization Expert Group (WISE), which brought together leading women in the ICT field to discuss ways to close the ICT gender gap. 
  • A special event focused on the accessibility of ICTs to persons with disabilities, highlighting ITU's latest initiatives to mainstream ICT accessibility in the development of technical standards.

The decisions of WTSA-16 have shaped ITU-T into a form optimized to provide government, industry and academia with common technical platforms to assist their pursuit of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.