ITU Newsletter

Hello ITU Newsletter readers!

As the Mobile World Congress gathers steam in Barcelona, here are your key ICT trends and insights this week: EE launches ‘air mast’ technology for digital inclusion; competition concerns block New Zealand deal; and is the telco industry in a similar position to the manufacturing industry 50 years ago?


ITU Newsletter
5G: ITU agreed on key 5G performance requirements for IMT-2020. 

ICT Trends

Digital Inclusion: British mobile operator EE unveiled its “air mast” technology - mini mobile sites attached to balloons and drone-based devices - to provide 4G signal in remote locations and areas hit by natural disasters. Meanwhile, South Africa will invest ZAR1.9 billion in high-speed Internet connections for public buildings and schools in underserved areas as it aims to provide Internet access to 90% of the country’s population by 2020.  

Government leadership on digital health: A new Broadband Commission report on Digital Health calls for government leaders to drive digital health strategies forward, coordinate national plans and harmonize the fragmented ecosystem of digital health to help achieve progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 (SDG 3). 


IoT: Vodafone became the first global IoT mobile provider reach 50 million connections, achieving roughly one million new connections every month. Meanwhile, GSMA launched the ‘IoT Big Data API Directory’ to encourage the sharing of harmonized data for new projects across transport, the environment and smart cities. [This year, WTISD 2017 celebrates Big Data for Big Impact]

India: Bharti Airtel agreed to acquire full control of Telenor’s Indian operation, but how the deal will impact their price war with Reliance Jio remains to be seen - especially as Reliance Jio announced it will start charging for data on 1 April. The newcomer expects to cover 99% of India’s population by end 2017.


  • Inefficient operations in the telco industry are as bad as the manufacturing industry 50 years ago, with up to 50% of its resources wasted, said speakers at a Huawei forum ahead of MWC.
  • Competition: Vodafone New Zealand and SKY Network Television’s proposed merger was blocked by regulators due to concerns that competitors could be forced to reduce investment or innovation in broadband and mobile markets in the future. 
  • Wearables: Will smartphones soon be replaced by augmented-reality (AR) glasses? Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges thinks so
  • Digital Finance: India launched Bharat QR, the world’s first interoperable QR code acceptance solution, to provide a secure method for payment transactions.
  • Social media: Chinese microblogging platform, Wiebo, will soon have more users than Twitter.   


AI opens education to a world of students By 2025, roughly eight million students are expected study abroad. ITU News spoke to edtech startup SchoolApply, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and search functionality to help students connect with educational programs around the world that best match their needs and potential.

The autonomous shipping future? Cheaper, more fuel efficient and with an increased cargo hold, it may be no wonder that shipbuilding companies are experimenting with self-driving, remotely-operated and crewless vessels. But regulatory and technology questions remain, writes Nathan Hurst

Keep up to date with ITU


- 7th Green Standards Week; Manizales, Colombia, 3-5 April 2017

- The Symposium on The Future Networked Car; Geneva, Switzerland, 9 March 2017 

- Forum on Data Management: Transforming Data Into Value; Dubai, UAE, 12 March 2017

- International Girls in ICT Day; Worldwide, 27 April 2017 


- Recent blog: Powering smart grid roll-out

- New videos! On ITU’s YouTube channel

- Read the latest ITU News Magazine here

Please do not reply to this email. For more information on ITU News:
Know someone who would like this newsletter? Send them to our subscribe page
Unsubscribe from future ITU News emails