“I am very pleased to announce this agreement with the GSM Association and I look forward to the collaboration in developing wireless access to connect the unconnected,” said Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour after the signing ceremony. “ITU is the leading United Nations agency specializing in ICT-related issues and represents a global forum for its 191 Member States and over 600 Sector members. GSMA represents a strong voice of the mobile industry and they are making real contributions towards increasing worldwide mobile penetration, including access in rural and underserved areas of the world.”
Commenting on the partnership, Tom Phillips of the GSMA, said, “Mobile operators have long known the value of government policies that support private investment. Through this new relationship, operators hope to create a dialogue that will cut through today’s hurdles and bottlenecks, creating new investment opportunities and integrating our members’ commercial agenda closely with that of government.”
The GSM Association is a partner of ITU’s Connect the World initiative, a global multi-stakeholder effort that encourages new projects and partnerships to bridge the digital divide.
ITU and the GSM Association will focus on three specific issues:
- Supporting Developing Market Projects for low cost access to ICT in underserved areas
The GSM Association has established a Development Fund to invest in sustainable projects that seek to extend access to and the value of mobile services in the developing world. Building on these efforts in the context of ITU’s Connect the World initiative, attention will focus on identifying ICT development projects where the contributions of industry and governments can be leveraged to “connect the unconnected”, especially through low-cost solutions as well as the innovative use of mobile technology and connectivity in least developed and developing countries.
- Industry & Government Cooperation
Facilitating closer dialogue between industry and governments by building partnerships aimed at solving problems and facilitating future planning and investment, with special emphasis on developing an enabling policy and regulatory environment as well as innovative approaches for the use of universal service funds to expand access to ICTs in rural and remote communities.
- Global industry benchmarking
Coordinating and enhancing research and statistical databases with a view to improving decision-making by compiling comprehensive shared resource of key industry performance indicators and benchmarks.