ITU Newsletter

Hello, ITU Newsletter readers!

As the ITU Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium 2016 (CBS) kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya and the ITU Green Standards Week gathers steam in Montevideo, Uruguay, here are your key ICT trends and insights this week: Reliance Jio disrupts India’s telco market; SpaceX explosion delays connectivity in Africa; and how can AI help achieve the SDGs?


ITU Newsletter AI for SDGs? ITU's new partnership with IBM Watson's AI XPrize will show how Artificial Intelligence can help boost progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Meanwhile, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are teaming up to agree on standards for AI ethics.

ICT Trends

Growing digital divide? The broadband access gap between advanced and emerging countries in Asia and the Pacific is widening, which could derail future development opportunities. However, ITU data shows that mobile broadband subscriptions continue to grow, with 41% penetration rate in developing world.

Another IoT pivot? Alphabet is restructuring its hardware interests: Project Ara has been officially shelved; and subsidiary Nest Labs’ platform team will join Google, which analysts see as a move to consolidate ‘smart home’ software efforts. Microsoft made a similar move earlier this year, moving away from the mobile phone hardware business to focus on cloud ambitions.


e-Health: Gaming and smart inhalers Gaming could be the answer to faster, low cost diagnosis of global diseases, according to researchers in Madrid. Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals will develop a wireless, low-power, disposable module for the Respimat inhaler which can track and share usage with medical practitioners.


  • Competition: Reliance Jio launched in India with rates roughly 20-25% cheaper than incumbent telcos, putting competition in a tough spot.
  • Satellites: Last week's SpaceX rocket explosion continues to reverberate across the space, satellite and telecom industries. But what will it mean for connectivity in Africa?   
  • Net neutrality: The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) published guidelines on net neutrality, restricting telecoms operators from prioritising some types of internet traffic.
  • Startups: The government of Zimbabwe established a USD25 million ICT innovation fund to support tech start-ups following concerns over international OTT dominance in the region.
  • SIMs: Mozambique’s telecom regulator has begun blocking 3 million unregistered SIMs, despite operator efforts to register customers. [ITU News explored the trend in SIM registration earlier this year.]


Preserving today’s digital archives – a global challenge With 90% of the world’s data produced in the last two years and the rapid degradation of technology, Courtney Mumma explains how can we preserve our digital lives for future generations. [Watch ITU Talks on digital archiving here live on 12 September at 15:30 (GMT+2).]

Algorithms: untested assumptions? Employers rely heavily on algorithms for the hiring process to boost efficiency and cost-effectiveness, but do they actually work? Cathy O'Neil investigates.

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