Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré 1

Mobile World Congress
LTE TDD/FDD International Summit

14 February 2011, Barcelona, Spain

1 Delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General by ITU Deputy Secretary- General Houlin Zhao

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a tremendous pleasure to be with you here in Barcelona this afternoon. I would like to say a personal thank you to Chairman Wang of China Mobile for his invitation to be with you here at this summit.

At ITU – the United Nations Specialized Agency for Information and Communication Technologies – it is our goal to Connect the World, and companies like China Mobile have done a huge amount to make that dream come true.

China Mobile is the world’s most valuable mobile telecommunications company. It is the builder of the world’s largest mobile telecommunications network. And it is of course the operator with far and away the largest number of mobile cellular subscriptions in the world – with almost 600 million customers at the end of last year, and over 20 million 3G customers.

As such, China Mobile is a beacon not just in mobile telecommunications, but across the whole ICT sector.

At ITU, we are honoured to have Chairman Wang as a member of the board of ITU Telecom. We are also delighted that he agreed to be one of the Commissioners of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which was launched last year by ITU and UNESCO.

At the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day celebrations, held on 17 May last year during World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, ITU was pleased to present Mr Wang – together with the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Mr Robert Kahn – with the WTISD 2010 Award.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of ITU Telecom in Geneva in October.

The event – taking place from 24 to 27 October – will bring together world leaders at the highest level along with top executives from many of the world’s most powerful players in the ICT sector.

It will be a great occasion on which to pursue the discussions and debates which are taking place here in Barcelona, and I look forward to seeing you there.

We are also in the run-up to the next ITU Radiocommunication Assembly and World Radiocommunication Conference, which will be taking place early next year, and which will be key in shaping the mobile communications landscape for the years ahead.

The importance of this assembly and conference should not be underestimated.

Look, for example, at the TD-SCDMA technology which is used by China Mobile today to deliver 3G services to its 20 million subscribers. This technology was approved by ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector, ITU-R, at RA-2000 as one of the IMT-2000 technologies on which all 3G services are based.

At Expo 2010 last year in Shanghai, Chairman Wang invited me, along with the Deputy Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, to test China Mobile’s TD-LTE trial operation, and we were very impressed with that demonstration.

TD-LTE-Advanced, as supported by China Mobile, was accepted by ITU-R as one of the IMT-Advanced candidate technologies in October last year, and China Mobile, with its foreign partners, is expecting to launch its LTE TDD/FDD initiative in this context. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all great success with this initiative.

During the second decade of the 21st century, I believe that we will see changes in the ICT landscape unlike anything that has gone before.

Changes that will be even more dramatic than the growth in mobile cellular subscriptions over the past decade, which now mean we have over five billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, and over a billion mobile broadband subscriptions.

I believe that this will be the decade when the Internet, and especially the mobile Internet – becomes truly pervasive and truly ubiquitous, going far beyond the two billion people who have access today, and reaching the unconnected billions worldwide.

I believe that we will see the Internet spread everywhere this decade – not just connecting people, but connecting objects, machines, cars, households, factories and governments in hitherto unimagined ways.

And this will very largely be brought about by the rapid proliferation of advanced mobile technologies – such as LTE TDD/FDD.

It is an amazing and wonderful time to be working in the ICT sector, and it is a real privilege to be playing a part in making the world a better place for all.
A world where most of the world’s people have affordable access to the Internet, and where social and economic benefits of ICTs have reached all the peoples of the planet, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

Thank you.