Who’s Who in the Telecommunications World

The service domains, legal status, and scopes of telecommunication companies worldwide are varied. In order to provide compatibility among different agencies, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was formed. ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations Organizations that standardizes information and communication technologies worldwide. ITU membership lays down the who’s who of the telecommunications world.

Some of the main functions of the ITU are

  • Allocates global use of radio spectrum
  • Assigns satellite orbits through international cooperation
  • Develops standards for networking technologies
  • Strives to improve communications in developing and underdeveloped countries.
  • Protects and supports communications and information exchange.

ITU has three main sectors

  • ITU-T: It is the Telecommunications Standardization Sector. It defines the global as well as the local standards for Internet access, communications protocols, compression of voice and video, home networking and many other particulars of communications.
  • ITU-R: It is the Radio-communications Sector. It coordinates the allocation and management of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbits that aid in satellite enabled services like phone calls, television services, online maps and navigation.
  • ITU-D: It is the Telecommunication Development Sector. It has programmes to develop ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) particularly in the developing and underdeveloped areas. It strives to bridge the “digital divide” between countries.

Membership to ITU is of two types

1) UN Members (countries and states) who join ITU as member states.
2) Private organizations who join ITU as Non-voting members. This includes −

  • Telephone companies, e.g. AT&T, Vodafone
  • Manufacturers of telecom equipments, e.g. Cisco, Nokia
  • Vendors of computers, e.g. Microsoft, Toshiba
  • Manufacturers of chips, e.g. Intel, Motorola