ITU Newsletter

Hello, ITU Newsletter readers!

This week, ITU is in Botswana for the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS) 2016, which includes the launch of the annual Measuring the Information Society (MIS) Report. Keep an eye on the WTIS newsroom and follow #ITUdata and #WTIS2016 for updates throughout the week!

Here are your key trends and insights this week: Musk’s major announcement; the Internet could be set for a turbulent 2017; and is India’s cash crunch a boost for digital finance?


ITU Newsletter The state of global ICT development The Republic of Korea topped ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) for the second consecutive year! Check out ITU’s IDI data visualization tool to find out where your country ranks in ICT development.

ICT Trends

Digital finance: Huawei will be one of the first major partners of the Level One Project, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative, which focuses on developing and deploying digital financial services that serve customers at all levels of the financial pyramid. Meanwhile, India’s cash crunch drives fresh interest in digital finance.

Elon Musk’s ambitions one step closer to reality Tesla’s shareholders approved a SolarCity acquisition worth roughly USD2 billion. Additionally, SpaceX sought US approval for an internet-via-satellite network eventually totalling 4,425 satellites to provide global high-speed internet coverage. 

Cybersecurity: The number of DDoS ‘mega attacks’ are on the rise, with the two biggest attacks in history in 2016, leading one analyst to predict that the Internet may have more shutdowns in 2017. Meanwhile, PoisonTap, a new USD5 card-sized device can intercept all of a computer’s unencrypted web traffic when plugged into its USB port.


IoT: MTN and Huawei have jointly launched the Smart Water Metering solution, the first Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solution in Africa. The technology uses sensors installed in water meters to identify water pipeline leakage. Meanwhile, Reliance Industries of India partnered with GE for industrial IoT.

Facebook: Facebook has reportedly suspended data sharing with WhatsApp across the European Union, following a similar move in the United Kingdom last week. Meanwhile, the June crash during Project Aquila’s inaugural flight is being investigated by a United States safety agency, despite Facebook's claim that the flight was successful. How will this affect Facebook's connectivity ambitions?


  • Microsoft: Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation, furthering its open source commitment. Meanwhile, the company has introduced a new way to drive its diversity goals: tying senior executives’ annual bonuses to hiring targets.
  • Google: Google will go ahead with a planned USD1.24 billion investment in new Kings Cross HQ in London, saying Britain still had strong tech prospects, despite Brexit.
  • Autonomous cars: Intel will invest over USD250 million in the autonomous vehicle industry over the new two years – but some ethical issues remain. 
  • Start-ups: French start-up Sigfox raised an additional Euro 150 million to help build wireless IoT networks – new investors include France’s Total and San Francisco-based Salesforce.
  • E-health: A temporary tattoo-like electronic sensor can track cardiovascular health, with other applications such as speech recognition currently being tested.  


Can investing in connectivity help combat climate change? Broadband infrastructure and ICT technologies can drive the transformation needed to move towards a low-carbon future, says ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao.

Technology and the environment How IoT can help protect and restore our endangered world? Phillip Tracy lists some successful use cases.

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