Panel: Companies must realize the potential of offering connectivity to developing nations

June 23, 2005 - Discussion at SUPERCOMM looked at the programs designed to help expand access to technology.

A recent Telecommunications Industry Association market development forum looked at the communications infrastructure needs of developing nations, and the programs designed to help expand access to technology.

The TIA Market Development Forum, titled "The Other 4 Billion: Telecom in Emerging Nations," took place during SUPERCOMM 2005. The conference took place at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

The forum provided insight on growth patterns, and the impact of regulation on market development. Panelists discussed the opportunities and challenges for low-cost network deployment and offered direction on how to consider key differences between the opportunities facing services providers supporting regions at different levels of development.

"Many companies do not recognize the full commercial potential of offering connectivity to developing nations," stated ITU Secretary General Yoshio Utsumi. "Those markets should be served, not for humanitarian reasons, but because of the presence of real business opportunities."

Muna Nijem, chairman and CEO of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Government of Jordan, noted that when companies do business in the developing world, the continued ability for service providers to build on existing applications is key as is executing a clear country-specific plan. She also noted that regulators must create the environment that minimizes obstacles to deployment.

"Taking telecom to the other four billion is our industries' biggest challenge and one of our biggest commercial opportunities," said Dr. John Ryan, president and chief analyst, RHK. "Our goals should be to build the products and infrastructure that can support ubiquitous mobile and broadband."

Zsolt Nagy, minister of communication and information technology of Romania, stated that with the penetration rate for telephony at 50% in his country, the ministry is creating policies to provide connectivity for the other 50%. The government is working to draw innovative companies to the market with competitive labor costs, workforce mobility and flexibility and highlighting the presence of internationally recognized software products and IT services.

Vinod Vanish, member, Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal, Government of India, noted that the biggest challenge the country now faces is providing services for the rural communities where commercial opportunities exist but businesses may need to exploit them with non-traditional models.

The TIA is based in Arlington, VA. For more information visit

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