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Shaping the future mobile information society
In recent years, the world has seen an explosion in the growth of information and communication technologies, and particularly mobile communications. 2002 marked a turning point in the history of telecommunications in that the number of mobile subscribers overtook the number of fixed-line subscribers on a global scale, and mobile became the dominant technology for voice communications. Indeed, the mobile phone has moved beyond being a mere technological object to become a key "social object" present in every aspect of our daily lives.

The combination of mobile with Internet and IP-based technologies, and the integration of fixed and mobile technologies, raises a host of possibilities for innovative applications and new modes of interaction. Wireless applications of pervasive or ubiquitous technologies conjure up images of intelligent homes and always-on human monitoring. Already, location-based technologies can help police and parents protect children from abductions or other forms of crimes. Combined with customized advertising, such location technologies can be a boon to retailers wishing to promote their products to potential buyers passing by. Multimedia messaging services (MMS) and streaming mobile video are opening up more exciting person-to-person services and customized entertainment. Although predicting the future is a risky business in the telecommunication industry, an understanding of the key technologies for "everywhere, anytime" mobile that are being developed can allow us to have some grasp on the shape and direction of the future mobile information society.

The question that is raised is whether we are well-equipped as a society, and as individuals, to live in a world of technological ubiquity, a world in which an intelligent microwave warms up your dinner before you get home, or your mobile phone tells you that your husband is still at the supermarket. Consider the use of tiny Radio Frequency ID tags imbedded into clothing to help retail businesses track inventory. Will these remain active once the item has been purchased and what kind of information will be collected? The new generation of always-on, anytime, anyplace technologies may allow for levels of convenience, but also of surveillance, unknown and unimagined by earlier generations. At the dawn of this new age, it is important to consider what effect these technologies are having on the way we grow, interact, socialize and learn.

See 2004 ITU Internet Reports "The Portable Internet" (September 2004)   

Symposium and Workshop

See 2004 ITU Internet Reports 
"The Portable Internet" (September 2004) 

A New Initiatives Workshop (see Agenda) on "Shaping the future mobile information society" was held 4-5 March 2004 in Seoul (Korea, Rep. of), hosted by Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).  This joint ITU-MIC Workshop followed an ITU-MIC New Initiatives Symposium (See Programme ) held on 3 March 2004 on "Shaping the future broadband convergence network". Both events were made possible through close collaboration between the ITU's Strategy and Policy Unit and Korea's MIC and International Cooperation Agency for Korea IT.

This topic, i.e. what happens next in the mobile information society, was selected on the basis of priorities expressed by ITU Member States and Sector Members. This and other topics under the New Initiatives Programme  are chosen on the basis of a regular questionnaire sent to all ITU Member States and Sector Members.

For more information about this project, please contact Ms. Lara Srivastava at <>.  Or visit the Workshop and Symposium Events Page.   Click here to download the Workshop presentations. 


Background Resources 
This website aims to provide a number of background resources on the future mobile information society, and is divided into the following categories:  

Country Case Studies

Mobile technology
Content and Applications
Pervasive or ubiquitous mobile
Human and socio-political considerations

ITU Background Paper on " Social and Human Considerations for a More Mobile World" (24 February 2004) 

ETRI Background Paper on "Broadband Mobile Communications Towards a Converged World" (25 February 2004)

Special Feature ITU "Mobile Phones and youth: A look at the U.S. Student Market" (31 May 2004)

Check out our special feature: the MOBILE MESSAGING PAGE!   


Related ITU Activities

(SPU) SPU NEWSLOG on "Mobile" and "Wireless Networks" and "Ubiquitous Networks"

(SPU) ITU Internet Report "The Portable Internet," September 2004
(SPU) ITU Internet Report "Internet for a Mobile Generation", September 2002"
(SPU) Research project on "Mobile overtakes fixed" (2003)
(ITU-T) Workshop on "Next-Generation Networks: What, When and How
(ITU-T) Seminar on IMT-2000 and Systems Beyond (Ottawa, May 2002)
(ITU) ITU Handbook on Deployment of IMT-2000 Systems
(ITU-R) Working Party 8F on IMT-2000 and Systems Beyond IMT-2000
(ITU-T) IMT-2000 Network Aspects
(ITU-T) Special Study Group IMT-2000 and Beyond
(ITU-D) IMT-2000 pages of ITU-D


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Updated : 2011-04-04