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This is the last edition of the ITU Newsletter before we return in 2017. We wish you a productive New Year and we hope that you have found the newsletter informative. Feel free to submit any comments or suggestions to

Here are your key ICT trends and insights this week: another content and distribution mega-merger is in the works; Apple and Ireland respond to the EU’s back-tax bill; autonomous cars continue to roll out as Waymo and IBM announce new partnership – but what happens to a BMW when 2G networks are turned off?


ITU Newsletter
ITU to join new global initiative: As ITU’s Focus Group on Digital Financial Services for Financial Inclusion draws to a close, Chairman Sacha Polverini outlines the next steps for the route to broader financial inclusion.

ICT Trends

Autonomous cars: Uber debuted its self-driving cars in San Francisco but was told it 'must cease' operations for failing to obtain a permit. Meanwhile, Google’s driverless car unit, Waymo, is partnering with Fiat Chrysler to bring fully autonomous minivans to public roads in 2017. And BMW has teamed up with IBM to explore how cars will be driven in the future. [Read more on 5G standardization for driverless cars]

Content and competition policy: 21st Century Fox agreed to a GBP 11.7 billion deal to take full control of Sky which will create a ‘global leader in content creation and distribution’. Much like the recent Time Warner and AT&T deal, it will need to win approval from competition regulators but is already facing government opposition


Green ICTs: The US state of California has passed a first-of-a-kind energy efficiency standards for technology which will take effect in 2018. Based on current data, the standards will reduce California’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 730,000 tons and save consumers roughly USD 370 million on electric bills annually. [ITU activities on energy efficiency can be found here]

Digital disruption: India’s newcomer Reliance Jio has signed up 52 million 4G users in three months, nearly three times more than the country’s top five operators combined by end-2016. Such disruption is forcing a rethink among telcos and raises a larger question facing many telcos globally: Should they become digital service providers or risk losing out to OTT players?


  • Tax policy: As expected, Apple and Ireland are now challenging a European Union ruling on a retroactive USD 14.5 billion tax bill for operations in Ireland. 
  • European GPS: Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system is now live, with 18 of a planned 30 satellites operational. Fully independent service is expected by 2020.
  • Internet of Things: Google’s growing IoT ecosystem has a new tool: Android Things, an Android-based IoT operating system. Qualcomm is already a supporter. Will this help bring IoT start-ups into the increasingly monetized enterprise sphere?
  • Cybersecurity: Yahoo announced a second data breach affected 1 billion users in 2013, the biggest breach in history and twice the size of the 2014 leak. Will this help Verizon gain major concessions on their deal to take over Yahoo?
  • Drone commerce: Amazon launched Prime Air trials in the UK to two beta testers; delivery took 13 minutes from the time the customer entered the order.
  • Net neutrality: US FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will leave his post in January, throwing net neutrality guidelines that he oversaw into question as speculation begins on what a Trump presidency might mean for US telco policy.
  • 2G: What happens to older BMW models’ connections when 2G services are shut down?
  • Connectivity: Telefonica Moviles Argentina (Movistar) has brought 4G LTE mobile network to Antarctica.


The new privacy debate ‘Mixed reality’ glasses will be commercially available within three years, according to Robert Scoble. But how will this impact the privacy debate when we can “do things that your human eye can’t see”?

Keeping the world’s longest rail tunnel safe with robust networking and IoT Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel has a fully connected infrastructure. But guaranteeing the level of service required for the longest, safest and best connected tunnels in the world is not easy, reports Steve McCaskill.

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