ITU Telecom World

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ITU Telecom World
Status Active
Genre ICT (Information and Communication Technologies)
Venue ITU Headquarters
Location(s) Geneva
Country Switzerland
Inaugurated 1971
Organized by ITU

ITU Telecom is part of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. ITU Telecom organizes the global ITU Telecom World event, the platform for innovation showcasing, high-level debate, knowledge-sharing and networking for the governments, industry leaders, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and regulators that form part of the world’s ICT community. The first ITU Telecom event was held in 1971 and since its fortieth anniversary in 2011, ITU Telecom World has been held on an annual basis.

ITU Telecom World 2017 will take place in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 25 – 28 September 2017, with its focus on driving growth in the digital economy and socio-economic development globally through actively connecting SMEs, governments and large businesses throughout the ICT ecosystem.


The first ITU Telecom World event was held in 1971. It quickly established itself as the leading exhibition and forum for the global ICT industry. Bringing together representatives of governments, regulators and industry, the event has provided a forum for some of the industry’s most influential people to collaborate and engage in high-level dialogue on the major challenges facing the sector.

In 1985, the ITU Telecom staged its first regional telecommunication exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region – Asia Telecom85. This was followed the next year by its first regional event in the Africa region — Africa Telecom86. Regional telecommunication exhibitions continued with the first such events in the Americas region — Americas Telecom 88 and in the Europe region - Europa Telecom 1992. Telecom events were held on a regional or global basis every year, adopting the ITU Telecom World name for the first time at the Geneva event in 2003. The final event to be held in this format was ITU Telecom World 2009 which was attended by over 2,250 VIPs, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, Ambassadors, heads of regulatory agencies, and CEOs from around the world.[1] Through a series of top-level roundtables, meetings and debates, the event addressed pressing issues such as climate change,[2] global economic recovery[3] and cybersecurity.[4]

ITU Telecom World 2011[edit]

Marking the 40th anniversary of the event, ITU Telecom World 2011 introduced a new format curated by Katz Kiely,[5][6] dispensing with a traditional exhibition show floor to focus instead on facilitating knowledge sharing, networking, deal making and consensus building.[7] By addressing the major trends and challenges facing the ICT industry – at both a governmental and industry level – ITU Telecom World 2011 provided a forum for high level debate and decision-making.[8]

World 2011 was attended by 6500 industry professionals including Heads of State and Government, Ministers, City Mayors, Industry CEOs and technology gurus; of these, 332 leaders participated in the exclusive Broadband Leadership Summit, part of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

251 influential speakers from 64 countries took part in the multi- streamed conference agenda. For the first time, young innovators played a key part of the event agenda,[9] with 10,000 students from schools across the globe, sharing their work with 150,000 of their classmates across five continents through a parallel Metaconference.[10]

In addition, 258 stands from 235 participating companies from 41 countries were represented on the Show Floor; and 324 accredited media from around including major global broadcasters, news agencies, specialised technology and financial press.

ITU Telecom World 2012[edit]

In 2012, the event moved to Dubai, where it was hosted by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.[11] ITU Telecom World 2012 addressed five 'game changing' themes: leadership and innovation at both the government and corporate level; delivering broadband through unorthodox business models that can shift industry dynamics; beyond connectivity including major issues such as cybersecurity; smart applications including mHealth, M2M and Cloud Computing; and designing the future through human-centric networks and converging technologies.[12]

Over 3,000 top-level participants took part in World 12, including Heads of State and Government, Ministers, industry CEOs, consultants, academics and thought leaders, as well as senior representatives of UN agencies and remote participants from around the world interacting in real-time via webcasts and Twitter streams. A total of 232 influential speakers from 64 countries took part in over 55 interactive sessions, exploring the challenges and opportunities arising from the current transformation of the ICT industry from the contrasting perspectives of business strategy, government policy and technology.

ITU Telecom World 2013[edit]

ITU Telecom World 2013 took place on 19–22 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.[13] The big themes addressed included the way people communicate with each other, the dominant players in the ICT sector, business models, technological capabilities, standardization and regulatory regimes to accommodate new technologies and industry dynamics, and government policies to provide security and avoid deepening the digital divide.[14]

ITU Telecom World 2014[edit]

ITU Telecom World 2014 took place on 7–10 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar under the central theme of Future in Focus. Industry stakeholders from private and public sectors, and from emerging and developed markets, took part on the showfloor, in networking activities and interactive Forum panel sessions at World 2014. 30 national representations and thematic pavilions joined 169 showfloor entities from 46 countries showcasing the best of regional innovation, technology, partnership and investment opportunities. 205 expert speakers from 52 countries explored the shape of the future in 51 Forum panel debates, workshops and discussions and the influential Leadership Summit.

ITU Telecom World 2015[edit]

ITU Telecom World 2015 took place from 12–15 October 2015 in Budapest, Hungary, on the central theme of Accelerating ICT Innovation for Social Impact. The event was notable for its strategic shift to focus on the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in driving innovation in local markets in developed and emerging markets. SMEs, startups, entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubators from around the world exhibited innovative solutions, joined Forum debates and took part in targeted networking, pitching and capacity building sessions. The inaugural ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Awards were launched at the event, recognising excellence in SME ICT innovation for social impact.

ITU Telecom World 2016[edit]

ITU Telecom World 2016 took place from 14-17 November in Bangkok, Thailand, on the central theme of Collaborating in the Digital Economy. The event built on the momentum of ITU Telecom World 2015 to extend its focus on fostering the growth of SMEs in the ICT industry, including the second edition of the ITU Telecom World Awards recognising excellence and innovation in ICT solutions with social impact.

Over 8,800 participants took part in ITU Telecom World 2016. With 250 exhibitors from 37 countries, including 107 exhibiting SMEs and 60 partners and sponsors, the exhibition featured the latest digital technologies, smart city solutions and national broadband plans, as well as investment and partnership opportunities. In the Forum, a total of 173 expert speakers from 56 countries explored the importance of collaboration in driving the success of the digital industry and socio-economic development through panel debates, workshops and roundtables. The major topics addressed included AI, how ICTs can meet the SDGs, the connected car, digital financial inclusion, and taxation in the industry. In addition, 8 agreements and contracts were signed at ITU Telecom World 2016 between governments, regulatory bodies and private entities.

Past Events[edit]

  • Telecom 71 (Geneva)
  • Telecom 75 (Geneva)
  • Telecom 79 (Geneva)
  • Telecom 83 (Geneva)
  • Asia Telecom 1985 (Singapore)
  • Africa Telecom 1986 (Nairobi)
  • Telecom 87 (Geneva)
  • Americas Telecom 1988 (Rio)
  • Asia Telecom 1989 (Singapore)
  • Africa Telecom 1990 (Harare)
  • Telecom 91(Geneva)
  • Europa Telecom 1992 (Budapest)
  • Americas Telecom 1992 (Acapulco)
  • Asia Telecom 1993 (Singapore)
  • Africa Telecom 1994 (Cairo)
  • Telecom 95 (Geneva)
  • Americas Telecom 1996 (Rio)
  • Interactive 97(Geneva)
  • Asia Telecom 1997 (Singapore)
  • Africa Telecom 1998 (Johannesburg)
  • Telecom 99 (Geneva)
  • ITU Telecom Asia 2000 (Hong Kong)
  • ITU Telecom Americas 2000 (Rio)
  • ITU Telecom Africa 2001 (Johannesburg)
  • ITU Telecom Asia 2002 (Hong Kong)
  • ITU Telecom Americas 2003 (Buenos Aires)
  • ITU Telecom World 2003 (Geneva)
  • ITU Telecom Africa 2004 (Cairo)
  • ITU Telecom Asia 2004 (Busan)
  • ITU Telecom Americas 2005 (Bahia)
  • ITU Telecom World 2006 (Hong Kong)
  • ITU Telecom Asia 2008 (Bangkok)
  • ITU Telecom Africa 2008 (Cairo)
  • ITU Telecom World 2009 (Geneva)
  • ITU Telecom World 2011 (Geneva)
  • ITU Telecom World 2012 (Dubai)
  • ITU Telecom World 2013 (Bangkok)
  • ITU Telecom World 2014 (Doha)
  • ITU Telecom World 2015 (Budapest)
  • ITU Telecom World 2016 (Bangkok)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "UN Secretary General calls ICT industry to arms over climate change", Total Telecom (5 October 2009)
  3. ^ "Public private partnership", (15 September 2009)
  4. ^ "Friday Review: Small but Perfectly Formed?", Total Telecom (9 October 2009)
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ ITU press release: "ITU Telecom World 2011 sets new paradigm for top-level networking, knowledge-sharing" (27 October 2011)
  8. ^ ITU press release: "ITU Telecom World 2011 sets new paradigm for top-level networking, knowledge-sharing" (27 October 2011)
  9. ^ "ITU showcases protoboffins, hands them £6k each", The Register (1 November 2011)
  10. ^ Ewan McIntosh sums up the ITU Telecom World 11 Metaconference #world11kids
  11. ^ "TRA forms committee to host three ITU events this year in Dubai", The Gulf Today (8 August 2012)
  12. ^ ITU Telecom World 2012
  13. ^ Press Release: "Dubai welcomes ITU Telecom World 2012; Next stop Bangkok" (15 October 2012)
  14. ^ ITU Telecom World 2013 Call for Papers

External links[edit]