International Telecommunication Union

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Internationale Fernmeldeunion
International Telecommunication Union

ITU logo

ITU building in Geneva
Organization type Specialized agency
Abbreviation ITU, UIT, МСЭ ( MSE )
management Houlin Zhao People's Republic of China
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China 
status active
Founded May 17, 1865
Headquarters Geneva Switzerland
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations
ITU regions
  • Region 1
  • Region 2
  • Region 3
  • World Telegraph Monument in Bern , Switzerland , with the following text on the panels:
    Union Télégraphique Internationale fondée à Paris en 1865 sur l'initiative du gouvernement français. Érigé par décision de l'Union Télégraphique prize à la conférence internationale de Lisbonne en 1908.
    " International Telecommunication Union, founded in Paris in 1865 at the suggestion of the French government. Established according to the decision of the Telecommunication Union on the occasion of the international conference in Lisbon in 1908. "
    GDR postage stamp from 1977 for World Telecommunications Day. Channel transfer cabinet VKM with mechanical filters; International Telecommunication Union (UIT) emblem

    The International Telecommunication Union ( English International Telecommunication Union , ITU , Spanish and French acronym UIT ; German and world news Association ) based in Geneva, is a specialized agency of the United Nations and the only organization that officially and worldwide with technical aspects of telecommunications deals. She is the organizer of the World Radiocommunication Conference (Engl. World Radiocommunication Conference , WRC ), the ITU Radio Regulations (Engl. Radio Regulations , RR perpetuate) and the World Conference on international telecommunications ( World Conference on International Telecommunications , WCIT ), the Rules of Procedure for International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR).


    The ITU goes back to the International Telegraph Association founded on May 17, 1865, making it the second oldest international organization after the International Committee of the Red Cross founded in 1863 . Today, as a UN specialized agency, it has 191 member states . Your foundation day was from 1969 to 2006 annually as World Telecommunication Day (Engl. Or World Communications World Telecommunication Day ) appreciated. After the General Assembly of the United Nations decided in March 2006 to celebrate May 17th as World Information Society Day , the Conference of Plenipotentiaries at the ITU decided in November 2006, henceforth May 17th World Day of communications and information society (engl. World Telecommunication and information society Day , WTISD ) to celebrate.

    The goals of the ITU are coordination and promotion of international cooperation in the communications sector through:

    • International regulations for the use of frequencies
    • International assignment and registration of transmission and reception frequencies
    • International call sign block assignment , the ITU prefix
    • Coordinating the development of telecommunications equipment
    • Coordination of efforts to handle faults in international radio traffic
    • Agreements on performance guarantees and fees

    State governments, private sector companies and other regional and national organizations work together in this framework. The basis of the ITU is the constitution and convention of the International Telecommunication Union ( Geneva 1992), which defines the tasks, rights and duties of the ITU organs.

    The official and working languages ​​of the ITU are Arabic , Chinese , English , French , Russian and Spanish , with the French wording being authoritative in cases of dispute or doubt. Accordingly, the Union also has six different names under which it publishes documents.

    The superordinate bodies of the ITU, the Plenipotentiary Conference and the World Conference work on general principles and general conventions. The ITU study groups, on the other hand, do the real work: They work on technical issues that they discuss in regular meetings. The results are published as recommendations and only have the character of standards when they have been adopted by normative organizations such as ISO , ANSI or ETSI or by national regulatory authorities such as the Federal Network Agency in Germany . The ITU-T's cooperation with forums and consortia is regulated in particular in Recommendations A.4, A.5, A.6 and A.23 (together with A.23, Annex A).

    ITU organizes the ITU Telecom trade fairs , with world fairs since 1971 and regional fairs in Asia, Africa and Latin America since 1985.

    Structure of the ITU

    The ITU is divided into


    The ITU-R sector is responsible for technical and operational issues, especially regarding radio communication, to carry out studies and to issue recommendations, without any restrictions on the frequency ranges. The responsibility of this sector includes the areas of space radio services, terrestrial radio services and the regulations for radio services (VO radio), including the associated study groups.

    For more information see also


    Most of the standards (strictly speaking “recommendations”) are adopted within the ITU by the ITU ‑ T ( Telecommunication Standardization Sector ). In contrast to national standards such as DIN, RS or ANSI, these recommendations are recognized worldwide.

    The areas of the ITU-T are:

    • A Organization of the Work of ITU-T
    • B Means of expression: definitions, symbols, classification
    • C General telecommunication statistics
    • D General tariff principles
    • E Overall network operation, telephone service, service operation and human factors
    • F Non-telephone telecommunication services
    • G Transmission systems and media, digital systems and networks
    • H Audiovisual and multimedia systems
    • I Integrated services digital network
    • J Cable networks and transmission of television, sound programs and other multimedia signals
    • K Protection against interference
    • L Construction, installation and protection of cables and other elements of outside plant
    • M TMN and network maintenance: international transmission systems, telephone circuits, telegraphy, facsimile and leased circuits
    • N Maintenance: international sound programs and television transmission circuits
    • O Specifications of measuring equipment
    • P Telephone transmission quality, telephone installations, local line networks
    • Q Switching and signaling
    • R Telegraph transmission
    • S Telegraph services terminal equipment
    • T Terminals for telematic services
    • U Telegraph switching
    • V data communication over the telephone network
    • X Data networks and open system communications
    • Y Global information infrastructure and Internet protocol aspects
    • Z Languages ​​and general software aspects for telecommunication systems

    Recommendations are marked with a letter for the area, a period and a number. Similar versions are e.g. B. marked by a trailing “to” or “ter”. Well-known examples of ITU-T recommendations are V.24 (interface lines for data transmission), JPEG (image compression), H.264 (video compression) or E.164 (international telephone numbering scheme).

    These recommendations were originally published after the end of a study period (every four years) in individual volumes, sorted by topic and assignment to study groups; all volumes were the same color. The unofficial linguistic usage therefore uses the terms “Yellow Book” (1972–1976), “Orange Book” (1976–1980), “Red Book” (1981–1984) and “Blue Book” (1985–1988). Thereafter, the recommendations were published individually, at the earliest after two consecutive plenary meetings of the responsible study group (usually nine months). The recommendations are currently published either according to the TAP (Traditional Approval Process) or the AAP (Alternative Approval Process). The TAP procedure (after two consecutive plenary sessions) is used if regulatory aspects are also involved in addition to technical issues. The AAP procedure is used for purely technical recommendations; publication is then already possible after four weeks (after the plenary meeting of the relevant study group).

    Directors and General Secretaries of the ITU

    Directors of the ITU
    Surname Beginning of the term of office Term expires country
    Louis Curchod January 1, 1869 May 24, 1872 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Karl Lendi May 24, 1872 January 12, 1873 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Louis Curchod February 23, 1873 October 18, 1889 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    August Frey February 25, 1890 June 28, 1890 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Timotheus Rothen November 25, 1890 February 11, 1897 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Emil Frey March 11, 1897 August 1, 1921 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Henri Etienne August 2, 1921 December 16, 1927 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Joseph Raber February 1, 1928 October 30, 1934 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    Franz von Ernst January 1, 1935 December 31, 1949 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    General Secretaries of the ITU
    Léon Mulatier January 1, 1950 December 31, 1953 FranceFrance France
    Marco Aurelio Andrada January 1, 1954 June 18, 1958 ArgentinaArgentina Argentina
    Gerald C. Gross January 1, 1960 October 29, 1965 United StatesUnited States United States
    Manohar Balaji Sarwate October 30, 1965 19th February 1967 IndiaIndia India
    Mohamed Ezzedine Mili February 20, 1967 December 31, 1982 TunisiaTunisia Tunisia
    Richard E. Butler January 1, 1983 October 31, 1989 AustraliaAustralia Australia
    Pekka Tarjanne November 1, 1989 January 31, 1999 FinlandFinland Finland
    Yoshio Utsumi February 1, 1999 December 31, 2006 JapanJapan Japan
    Hamadoun Touré January 1, 2007 December 31, 2014 MaliMali Mali
    Houlin Zhao January 1, 2015 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China


    • Christian Henrich-Franke: Global regulatory problems in a historical perspective: The fall of the radio frequency spectrum 1945–1988 . Baden-Baden 2006, ISBN 3-8329-1799-3 .
    • Peter Cowhey: The international telecommunications regime: The political roots of regimes for high technology . In: International Organization . 1990, pp. 169-199.
    • Andreas Tegge: The International Telecommunications Union - Organization and function of a world organization in transition . Baden-Baden 1994, ISBN 3-7890-3230-1 .
    • George Codding, Anthony Rutkowski: The International Telecommunication Union in a Changing World . Washington 1982, ISBN 0-89006-113-0 .

    Web links

    Commons : International Telecommunication Union  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Magazine articles

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Office of the Secretary-General. Retrieved April 16, 2016 .
    2. ITU page on WTISD. Retrieved December 18, 2012 .
    3. INTERNATIONAL REMOTE COMMUNICATION CONTRACT, NAIROBI, 1982 ; 1984 German translation; Publisher BMPT, Bonn; … BMV, General Directorate PT, Vienna; Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Vaduz; General Directorate Switzerland PTT, Bern; Article 11, paragraph: 83.
    4. pressinfo: Biography of the Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi. In: Retrieved June 9, 2016 .
    5. ^ Biography - Hamadoun Touré. In: ITU. Retrieved June 9, 2016 .
    6. Biography - Houlin Zhao. In: ITU. Retrieved April 16, 2016 .