ITU Newsletter

Hello, ITU Newsletter readers!

This week, ITU is celebrating  the 110th anniversary of the Radio Regulations in conjunction with this year's World Radiocommunication Seminar.  

Meanwhile, here are your key ICT trends and insights this week: local content is key to connectivity in emerging markets; Smart Cities may face data-talent shortage; and is the end near for some of Google’s ‘moonshots’? 


ITU Newsletter
Happy Birthday, ITU Radio Regulations! More than 540 registered participants from 106 countries came to Geneva to pay tribute to the essential international treaty for governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits for ubiquitous wireless communications. Learn more about the global importance of the Radio Regulations in the latest edition of ITU News Magazine. And follow the celebrations on #RR110.

ICT Trends

Content: A key element for connectivity The proposed USD 85.4 billion AT&T-Time Warner mega-merger highlights the value of content for telco growth, and it could have regulatory and business implications for connectivity in emerging markets. Meanwhile, Hooq's 2017 expansion into Malaysia and Vietnam highlights the power of locally relevant content as Netflix continues to face tough competition in the region. Maybe Netflix's new content strategy will help? And Canada is leading a local content charge of its own. 

China: the next AI powerhouse? The rapidly growing Chinese Internet giant Tencent’s entrance into the global AI race comes as China’s top search engine, Baidu recently reaffirmed that AI will be key to its future growth. Meanwhile, a new study finds China to be a close second to the U.S. in terms of the number of AI studies presented at top academic conferences in 2015.


Smart Cities: New study shows that 75% of global cities won’t take full advantage of smart city data. Meanwhile, New York’s new ‘CTO’ hopes to replicate his San Francisco smart city success. And Bluetooth 5.0 adoption ensures it will play a vital role in IoT connectivity.

Connectivity: ICT education for development Kenya has launched a KES 800 million (USD 780 m) project to link all secondary schools nationwide to high speed internet. Though fewer than 20% of households have Internet access, the country has 67% high school enrolment – increased connectivity will support Kenya’s Vision 2030 goals. [Learn more about your country’s ICT Development profile with ITU’s IDI mapping tool.]


  • Pricing: The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has withdrawn support for mobile data price rises. Operators say current pricing is unsustainable and services would suffer as a result.
  • 5G: ITU Focus Group delivers draft international standards to support 5G innovation.
  • Cybersecurity: As ransomware attacks show three-fold increase in 2016, Trend Micro have released their 2017 security predictions. Expect more sophisticated and targeted cyberattacks, and higher company admin costs due to data protection regulation compliance.
  • Autonomous vehicles: Fully automated trucking is coming soon, but are we ready for it? Safety, security and the technology itself remain key barriers.
  • Alphabet: The startup is growing up Alphabet’s new CFO is bringing financial discipline, limiting investment in the famous “moonshot” projects. How will Project Loon, Google’s effort to connect the unconnected with balloon-power Internet, be impacted?
  • Regulation: Philippines Senate plans major telco sector reform.
  • VR/AR: VR headset shipments will exceed 2 million units worldwide in 2016, predicts Canalys, which also forecasts the shipments to grow to 20 million units by 2020. Meanwhile, a new report indicates much-hyped AR firm Magic Leap may have oversold what it can do.
  • Mobile: Singapore will stop selling 2G-only devices from 1 January 2017. Meanwhile, two Thai operators must now provide low-cost 4G SIMs for disabled and low-income citizens. 
  • Connectivity: Bharti Airtel will invest in a new fiber cable between India and Myanmar, but has Myanmar's 'hyper growth' era already ended?


Pushing boundaries The race to connect the next four billion highlights the continuing ascendancy of online giants who are better placed to capitalize on the on the opportunity than telcos, argues Nick Wood.

Why is Silicon Valley going renewable? Tech giants continue to invest in clean energy, as Google implements plans to be 100% renewable in 2017. Is this just to reduce electricity costs, or is there more to it? Chris Baraniuk investigates.

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