Telecom 99

Join us at the last event of the century

Telecom 99 + Interactive 99

ITU Management Team. From left to right (in the foreground), Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General, and Roberto Blois, Deputy Secretary-General. In the background (from left to right), Hamadoun Touré, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), Houlin Zhao, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), and Robert Jones, Director, Radiocommunication Bureau (BR)

Photo: A. de Ferron (ITU 990050)

Ushering in the 21st century

In a few days, Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 will open its doors in Geneva. On the occasion of this last most important event before the turn of the century, the International Telecommunication Union is delighted to welcome exhibitors and visitors from all over the world to celebrate the past, present and future of telecommunications.

As a showcase of telecommunications since its inception in 1971, Telecom serves, every four years, as a measure of the progress already achieved and a preparation for the future. In this regard, the exhibition we are about to witness offers a unique review of the state-of-the-art technology.

The quality of networks and services provided today have improved dramatically with new techniques for management and with intelligence spread in different parts of what has become a global network. Standards have played and will continue to play a key role for the prompt introduction of new technology in this global network.

As a forum for developing and agreeing these technical standards, regulating the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and promoting telecommunication development, the Union takes specific and often novel measures to respond to the constantly changing landscape of telecommunications.

ITU can justifiably boast of having spent the last one hundred and thirty-four years building the global information infrastructure. An infrastructure that has fulfilled largely the dream and aspirations of Alexander Graham Bell, who said in 1878 that: "In the future… a man in one part of the country may communicate with another in a different place."

Indeed, the ability to call any country of the world from any other is particularly laudable. It will be even more laudable when all citizens of the world can enjoy access to telecommunications and information technology. This is the single most important challenge facing the infocommunications industry as we enter the new century.

At Telecom 95, some of the world's leading specialists and representatives of the converging industries of telecommunications, broadcasting and computing joined ITU in breaking down the barriers towards the global information society. We look forward to yet another dynamic exchange of ideas at Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 on the way we will communicate in the future. The bottom line is that we should continually define a framework to allow telecommunications to do what it does best: overcoming distance and connecting people everywhere.

So, Telecom is not simply a technical show. It is also a way to contribute to development efforts. Inthis regard, surplus income over expenditure generated by Telecom events is used as seed money for specific telecommunication development projects, primarily in the developing world.

With the prospects of today's, and even more so, tomorrow's limitless technology, the 21st century should herald a better life for everyone; not just those who can afford it.

Yoshio Utsumi


International Telecommunication Union

Message from the President of ITU-Telecom

Telecom 99 + Interactive 99, the ITU-Telecom event being held on the eve of the millennium at Palexpo (Geneva), will be the biggest and most influential gathering of telecommunication professionals ever seen. The event, which is taking place from 10 to 17 October, will be the eighth world telecommunication exhibition to be organized by the ITU in Geneva.

Exhibiting over a total ground floor surface of over 66 000 square metres net (63 000 indoors and 3300 outdoors), 1123 exhibitors from 48 countries will offer the 200 000 expected visitors the most influential showcase for all that is new and remarkable in telecommunication products and services. It will provide the launchpad for products of true innovation, the kind of developments that will impact and benefit our lives in the years to come.

Based on projections from the attendance at Telecom 95, some 100 ministers, 150 directors-general and 3000 media representatives are expected to visit Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 in addition to hundreds of chief executive officers and other top-level representatives of the telecommunications world.

At the event this year there will inevitably be a special focus on the changes that have been wrought — and which will continue to be wrought — on society by the combined impact of mobility and the Internet. Four years ago the Internet was on the fringes of the Telecom event and indeed the entire telecommunications business. Today the Internet and the World Wide Web affect businesses, markets and individuals alike.

Mobile telephony, too, has taken the world by storm in the past four years. At the time of Telecom 95 there were just 18 million digital cellular subscribers worldwide. Now, in 1999, there are more than 300 million digital cellular subscribers around the world.

In our excitement over this apparently unstoppable growth we should not, however, forget that the vast majority of the world's people do not yet have access to even basic telecommunication services, let alone the World Wide Web. The Forum at Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 addresses this issue, and at this year's event we have a broad-ranging and hopefully far-reaching programme lined up. The Forum this year will comprise four summits and eight combined sessions covering issues of interest for all the summits.

Finally, on the weekend of 16 and 17 October 1999 the World Telecom Internet Days will close the Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 event — and lead the way into the new millennium. This event will act as the bridge that leads from the industrial age to the information age, and will be open to the general public as well as to Telecom's principal audience of exhibitors, Forum delegates, media representatives and trade visitors.

Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 promises to be a truly exceptional event. I look forward very much to seeing you there.

Jean-Patrick Baré

Telecom Exhibitions in photos, from 1971 to 1995

Telecom 71

Telecom 75

Telecom 79

Telecom 83

Telecom 87

Telecom 87

Telecom 91

Telecom 91

Telecom 95

Palexpo expands to accommodate Telecom 99 + Interactive 99

Allocating space for the eighth World Telecom Exhibition due to be staged in Geneva from 10 to 17 October 1999, was not easy, given that so many companies made it clear, as early as 1995, that they wanted to show the world their accomplishments and their novelties on the eve of the new millennium. ITU-Telecom received too many requests for too little space. But during 1998 it was able, with the help of the Swiss authorities, to develop a project to use a whole new area in the gardens in front of the Palexpo Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The project, with its covered walkways, will be an integral part of Palexpo for Telecom 99 + Interactive 99. Consisting of a press centre, four press conference rooms, a television studio, a restaurant and an exhibition hall, the area is certain to attract many visitors and of course the world's media.

Fully equipped in terms of network connectivity, air conditioning, etc., it will provide all the amenities exhibitors and visitors to this global event are used to. For the exhibition itself, the project meant an extra 2500 m2, and will enable Telecom to accommodate part of its long waiting list.

By the end of 1998 it was clear that in total the exhibition would cover 65 000 m² of net floor space, not counting additional storeys on multi-level stands.

Also, during 1998 the call for speakers for the Forum at Telecom 99 + Interactive 99 was issued, and resulted in more than 1100 abstracts being submitted to the Forum Programme Committee, which met in February 1999 to shape and define the Forum.

Since October 1998 the world event has enjoyed wide publicity in the business and trade press.

Telecom surplus funds boost development

Telecom events are staged for the benefit of ITU Member States and Sector Members. But as a business-oriented, semi-commercial organization within ITU, Telecom also generates income. The Plenipotentiary Conferences of Kyoto (1994) and Minneapolis (1998) resolved that a significant part of any surplus income over expenditure derived from the activities of Telecom should be used for specific telecommunication development projects, primarily in the least developed countries. Some of these projects are highlighted here.

They are managed by the Special ITU-Telecom Development Programme, which complements the activities of the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D), over and above the activities which are undertaken by ITU under its ordinary budget.

Projects to be undertaken by this programme are to be carried out in the 1997-2002 time-frame, and can be grouped into the areas of human resource development, infrastructure development, assistance to countries in special need, and application of new technologies.

Primary school teacher training in Morocco

In 1998, the preparatory work necessary to implement a pilot interactive teacher training project in Morocco was completed. The project is funded to the tune of more than USD 3.5 million by the Government of Morocco, the World Bank, an ITU-Telecom surplus contribution and other partners. The project is being implemented by the ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) under a subcontracting arrangement for infrastructure and technical matters, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for programme issues and content.

The project was to establish 15 learning centres in Morocco to be operational in early 1999. By the end of 1998 a demonstration of very small aperture terminal (VSAT) equipment from Gilat (Israel) was already in Morocco and local staff had been recruited. The Moroccan telecommunications authority was approached to provide the satellite segments free of charge.

The pilot project takes advantage of VSAT technology, which allows outward broadcast quality for video, data and audio but also allows for a return channel for audio and text. VSAT is simplified satellite technology which does not rely on any existing infrastructure — it also has the added advantage of being relatively inexpensive, particularly for the return signal. In distance-learning studies, student feedback is essential. So, simple broadcasting technology is not sufficient, as it does not allow at present for a return channel.

Each remote classroom will therefore be equipped with a class computer as well as simple individual feedback terminals — like a converted remote control unit — for each student.

The project has been established as part of UNESCO's "Education for All" programme. It uses new information technology to combine the potential use of television, telecommunications, and computers, and brings knowledge and learning directly to those who need it most. The project focuses on:

A similar project is under way in India, in the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Other countries have expressed their interest in this pioneering endeavour.

Electronic commerce for developing countries (EC-DC)

The ITU's electronic commerce for developing countries project aims to enable developing and least developed countries to use existing telecommunication infrastructures and services to participate in electronic commerce by providing a low cost gateway to the global market-place for merchants and small businesses. This can be achieved by using a distributed architecture that enables many merchants to share the cost of the electronic commerce infrastructure in their region, thereby increasing the likelihood of sustainability.

Beside the direct economic benefits, EC-DC will stimulate demand for Internet connection infrastruc ture, thereby complementing other BDT projects such as telemedicine and distance learning. It focuses on well-defined deliverables and encourages participation of the business and private sectors. It is a concrete example of the thesis ITU has long promoted that telecommunication development fosters economic development.

Many partners from both public and private sectors have expressed interest in participating financially in the implementation of EC-DC in their regions. Implementation of at least four EC-DC centres (the first two being in Morocco and Venezuela) is expected over the next two years.

EC-DC shows business communities in developing and least developed countries the value of the global telecommunications infrastructure which broadens markets by providing access to an international clientele.

For additional information on this project, please visit the website at:

Growth in the World Telecom Exhibition since its inception in 1971

world event


net exhibition
space (m2)


Telecom 71

250 14 000 28 000

Telecom 75

360 16 600 40 000

Telecom 79

600 35 000 41 000

Telecom 83

659 41 000 77 000

Telecom 87

803 53 600 105 000

Telecom 91

250 87 260 132 250

Telecom 95

1066 99 000 154 671

The Telecom Board

This Board was created following the recommendations of the High Level Committee (1990-1991), the body that advised the ITU on how to streamline and integrate its activities in today's competitive environment. The Board focuses primarily on providing advice to the ITU Secretary-General concerning technological trends and developments in telecommunications and related fields, both on a global and regional basis.

Jean-Patrick Baré has served ITU for more than twenty-three years in various capacities in the human resources management field. From 1990 until 1998, Mr Baré was the Chief of the Personnel and Social Protection Department. In March 1998, he was nominated President of Telecom and Chairman, Telecom Board. Since his appointment, Mr Baré presided over the successful Africa Telecom 98, hosted in Johannesburg. This was ITU's twentieth Telecom event and its fourth in the Africa region.

Nils Ingvar Lundin is Managing Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing, at Investor AB in Sweden. Before joining this company in 1995 he was head of Corporate Relations and Senior Vice-President of Ericsson. He joined Ericsson in 1985 after sixteen years with Swedish Television. Mr Lundin was President of the Swedish Public Relations Association from 1994 to 1996. He holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Lund.

Osamu Hayama is Professor of Business Policy at the Graduate School of Integrated Science and Art, University of East Asia (Japan). Before joining the university he served as Managing Director in charge of the Information Technology Research Laboratory and the Research and Consulting Division at Nomura Research Institute, Japan's leading "thinktank". In 1994, he served as a member of the Japanese Delegation to the Kyoto Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU. In recent years he has been actively committed to telecommunications development activities in the Asia-Pacific region as the Coordinator of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Telecommunication Forum and also as a Strategic Planning Committee member of the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC), among others.

Andile Ngcaba is the Director-General of the Department of Communications in South Africa. He holds a Masters Degree of Commerce from the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as management diplomas from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the National University of Singapore. He is also a research fellow of the City University School of Social Sciences in London. He is the founder of the Centre for the Development of Information Technology Programmes (CDITP), and serves as Council Member of the Eastern Cape Technikon and as technical adviser to InfoDev of the World Bank. He has international standing as member of the International Regulatory Colloquium and as a Board Member of the Telecommunications Development Advisory Group (TDAG) of the ITU. Mr Ngcaba has published a number of papers on both telecommunications and information technology.

Janice Obuchowski is President of Freedom Technologies Inc., a telecommunications research and consulting firm. Until 1992, she served as Assistant Secretary of Communications and Information at the United States Department of Commerce and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). She was previously Executive Director, International Affairs for NYNEX and Senior Adviser to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Grégoire Sentilhes, based in New York, is the Executive Vice-President of Marketing Worldwide of Bertelsmann BOL, the international e-commerce business. BOL was launched in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in February 1999, and also operates in the United States. Before joining Bertelsmann, Mr Sentilhes was the CEO of Matra Hachette Multimedia Online, the online division of the group Lagardère, from 1993 to 1996. He is a board member of several Internet start-up companies both in the United States and Europe and has been an online pioneer since 1986 in the e-commerce, content and Internet communities since then. He has co-authored a book, the Minitel strategy, which was published in 1988.

Bruce Willey has been Vice-President, International Revenue Development for MCI International since 1985. He is responsible for PTT relationships, sales and marketing activities of MCI International in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Canada. His thirty-year career in international telecommunications has included senior posts with TRT and Western Union International. He is a member of the Telecommunications Task Force for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC). He is a member of the Advisory Board of the McLaren School of the University of San Fransisco.

The ITU-Telecom Management Team. From left to right: Lili Rison, Vice-President, ITU-Telecom and Head, Exhibitions Division, Jean-Patrick Baré, President, ITU-Telecom, Fernando Lagraña, Vice-President ITU-Telecom and Head, Forum Division, and Tom Dahl-Hansen, Senior Vice-President ITU-Telecom, and Head, Business Development and Marketing Division

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