Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao praised the proposals and initiatives of Vietnam and hoped that it would share its experiences with other ITU member countries.
The ITU is a specialized organization of the United Nations established on July 15, 1947. The ITU has 193 member countries, and more than 700 associate members that are businesses, research institutions operating in the fields of telecommunications and information technology, and regional and international organizations.
The ITU is an organization with the mission of maintaining and strengthening international cooperation in the fields of wireline, radio, fiber optic cable, and satellite in all member countries to enable the use of telecommunications in the most effective way.
Vietnam's role in ITU
Since 1975, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has been the sole legal representative of Vietnam to participate in the ITU. In recent years, Vietnam has demonstrated its increasingly important role in this organization.
The first ITU Telecom event was held in 1971. Since its 40th anniversary in 2011, ITU Telecom World has been held on an annual basis in a different location worldwide. 2020’s event will be ITU Digital World, taking place online from 20–22 October. ITU Digital World 2021 will be back in its usual form in Ha Noi Viet Nam in October 2021.
In 2020, Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung proposed changing the name to ITU Digital World, the platform for innovation showcases, high-level debate, and knowledge sharing and networking for governments, industry leaders, small and medium enterprises and regulators that form part of the world’s ICT community, which was held for the first time in 1971.
ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao said: "For a long time, the old image of fixed-line telephone sets was shown when talking about telecom. But now, when talking about ICT, one thinks about the development of technology firms and applications. In 2019, the event was organized in Hungary with the name ITU Telecom World. But Vietnam suggested renaming it ITU Digital World, a wonderful initiative which shows the importance of digital technology in the communications ecosystem."
During his meeting with the ITU Secretary General on October 15, Minister Nguyen Manh Hung proposed a number of initiatives: each ITU member country takes an initiative of its own or at the suggestion of the ITU and implements that initiative with its own resources. When it is successful, ITU will spread that initiative globally. Thus, ITU will mobilize resources of 193 countries.
He cited an example: Vietnam is speeding up 5G coverage by calling for mobile network operators to jointly invest in this technology. Thus, the investment costs paid by each carrier will reduce and Vietnam will have a nationwide 5G network in just one year. Vietnam plans to implement this initiative in 2022 and if it is successful, it will share its experience with the ITU.
Another initiative proposed by the Vietnamese Minister is the schedule to abandon 2G services by 2023. It is estimated that by early 2023, the number of customers using 2G handsets will be less than 5%. Accordingly, the Government and mobile network operators will buy 4G devices to replace the 2G devices used by 5% of the population.
Another proposal raised by Minister Nguyen Manh Hung is to change the name of the ITU to the International Digital Union (IDU).
At the meeting, the ITU Secretary General praised the proposals and initiatives of Vietnam.
Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union Houlin Zhao.
Vietnam has been actively participating in and chairing many working groups of ITU. Doan Quang Hoan, former Director of the Radio Frequency Department, was elected as a Member of the Radio-communication Regulation Committee (2014-2018 and 2018-2022 terms). The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications has participated in many activities of the ITU such as the Global Standards Conference2008, the plenary working group on narrowing the standardization gap of the World Telecommunication Standardization Conference 2008, the development consultant group and the research group 1 of the ITU-D, the research group 5 on ground services of the ITU-R, the regional working group on issues of developing countries prepared for the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the regional working group on the agenda for the World Telecommunications Development Conference 2017, the 3rd Committee on the working methods of the World Telecommunication Standardization Conference, the research group No. 11 on ITU standards, and others.
From the experience of a developing country, Vietnam came up with a number of ideas and initiatives and then a resolution for the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. A typical example is Resolution 123 on narrowing the telecommunications standardization gap between developing and developed countries, which has been implemented to support developing countries and has been widely appreciated by many countries.
Vietnam has been actively contributing to formulating ITU policies, reforming the organizational structure to protect the interests of developing countries; and researching and contributing ideas to the management and technical fields of the ITU. This has enhanced Vietnam’s position in the ITU increasingly.
In the coming time, Vietnam will encourage its businesses to participate in ITU activities; and create a contingent of young officials who are capable of participating in ITU activities and running for positions in ITU such as the Committee on Radio-communication Regulations, the chairmanship of ITU research teams, ITU advisory groups and other leadership positions.
ITU's support for Vietnam
The ITU has implemented many activities to support Vietnam, especially management policies and capacity training. When Vietnam opened its doors, the ITU’s support was especially meaningful to help the country gain more information and experience to develop the telecommunications industry.
Specifically, the ITU coordinated with the United Nations Development Program to develop a number of major projects such as: Project VIE 85/019 (1989-1991) on strengthening the information network on storm and flood prevention for Binh Tri Thien province; Project VIE 86/047 (1989-1993) on upgrading the digital laboratory for the Institute of Science and Technology of Post and Telecommunications (VNPT); Project VIE 89/006 on evaluating the overall telecommunications network of Vietnam and a project to build multi-purpose community telecommunications centers in Dak Lak, Bac Giang and Bac Ninh.
ITU has helped Vietnam implement a number of projects such as multi-purpose community telecommunications pilot project to develop community telecommunications, contributing to improving living standards for people in remote areas; the project “Outlining development strategy of Vietnam’s Information and Communication Technology to 2010 and the vision to 2020”, the project to train Vietnamese experts to implement the PLANITU telecommunications network program and training courses, seminars on telecommunications development policies, e-commerce, and international payments.
The ITU has sent many experts to help Vietnam on telecommunications policy and planning consultancy and assisted Vietnam in human resource training by granting scholarships to Vietnamese officials to participate in courses to improve their professional skills in management, engineering and exploitation skills.
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