By Naushad K. Cherrayil

Staff Reporter


The Arab group has submitted 40 proposals, including some resolutions to be amended, suppressed or added at the 20th edition of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18).

Tareq Al Awadi, executive director for spectrum management at TRA and chairman for the Arab group, told Gulf News that the some of the main proposals to be added are over the top (OTT) and artificial intelligence.

“The Arab region wants to give ITU a role to study and put a definition on OTT and how OTT has to be dealt with the countries. What we want is ITU to continue studies on key issues of OTT services such as regulatory, technical and economic benefits and as well as develop a relevant international public policy,” he said.

Regarding AI, he said that the Arab region would like ITU to take a role and put some kind of definition for it in the ITU’s glossary.

There is no other international organisation that is handling AI and ITU is the best place to discuss, he added.

Moreover, he said the PP-18 conference is only giving authority to ITU to do the study on different sectors and the event is not on technical discussions.

He said that the studies will be done by different groups and will be approved at the respective conference.

Meanwhile, the Arab region, which consists of 22 countries, has agreed not to have any changes in the constitution and convention of ITU.

“This was agreed by all other countries at the event not to change it. The basic tools of ITU are four – constitution, convention, radio regulation and international telecom regulation,” he said.

The other recommendation of the Arab group, he said is to have stability in the constitution.

“Changing the constitution means that each country has to ratify the changes in the constitution by the highest authority of their country and issue a decree. It has to be done before the next conference. If not ratified, that country will not be eligible for voting in next conference,” he said.

In ITU, there are two international telecom regulations (ITR) – ITR 1988 and ITR 2012, where some countries have signed only one and more than 90 countries have signed both regulations.

“The two ITRs are causing some problems in ITU and for many countries. We want ITU to merge these two ITRs into one and for that, a new working panel should be created to study it. The ITR 1988 is very old and many articles are not applicable right now so we developed a new ITR at WCIT 2012.

“We want ITU to suppress ITR 1988 and merge it with ITR 2012,” Al Awadi said.