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[ITU 2017] ITU Telecom World ends with 5G in focus

BUSAN -- ITU Telecom World on Thursday wrapped up its four days of exchanges on opportunities and risks stemming from the emergence of new technologies. Thousands of ICT ministers, government officials and business leaders visited the southern port city of Busan to attend the event.

The participants of the UN-backed ICT conference also discussed ways to address challenges in the global ICT segment, including the digital divide and the adoption of standards for next-generation networks.

At this year’s Telecom World event, the fifth-generation network took center stage, as global information and communication technology businesses and government agencies are competitively preparing to launch the telecom technology, which is expected to generate financial opportunities and create new industries.

Visitors try out VR devices at the ITU Telecom World 2017 event in Busan on Thursday (ITU)
Visitors try out VR devices at the ITU Telecom World 2017 event in Busan on Thursday (ITU)

To iron out 5G issues faced by governments and private businesses, ICT experts said all players in the ICT sector should make concerted efforts.

“The 5G revolution is not just an evolution, it is sort of a collaboration of multiple technologies,” said Donna Bethea Murphy, senior vice president of British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat, at a discussion session held under the theme of “the 5G opportunity.”

She emphasized the importance of the integration of new and old business models, technologies and businesses to “make a successful revolution” in the upcoming 5G era.

Others participating in the discussion agreed on the need for a new set of rules and standards and long-term investment in related technologies.

“We need to establish global standards for the 5G. We have to have systems and networks that perform very well and can give a good experience that end users would like to have,” said Jan Farjh, the head of standardization and industry for Ericsson, a European telecom equipment firm.

Visitors look around SK Telecom’s booth at the ITU World 2017 event in Busan, Thursday (ITU)
Visitors look around SK Telecom’s booth at the ITU World 2017 event in Busan, Thursday (ITU)

Telecom firms, including SK Telecom and KT, and network equipment makers, such as Samsung Electronics, showcased their respective technologies during the event.

Voice-recognition speakers, autonomous vehicles connected to the 5G network and virtual reality games were displayed by the telecom companies.

Meanwhile, would-be entrepreneurs and startups shared their business ideas in a competition at the ICT young leaders’ forum backed by Busan Metropolitan City, while ICT experts, including Masanori Kondo, the deputy secretary-general of intergovernmental organization Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, gave speeches for fledgling startups in the ICT sector.

At an awards ceremony held on the last day of the conference, ICT ministries and agencies from more than 10 nations, including Nigeria and the Philippines received certificates of appreciation for their participation in the Busan conference, which was organized by the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency responsible for global ICT issues.

The certificates were also given to several tech firms, including French telecommunications equipment firm Microwave Vision Group, German telecom operator LS telcom, and Ghana IT solution provider Subah Info Solutions.

The ITU also gave awards to telecom firms, small and medium-sized firms and government agencies in recognition of their contributions to global ICT development.

SK Telecom and KT won global corporate awards for the education robot Albert and artificial intelligence-powered set-top box Giga Genie service, respectively. 

By Kim Young-won and Shin Ji-hye ( (