CMA hosts INTUG meeting in London

30 May 2012, Nick White

The International Telecommunications Users Group (INTUG) met recently in London at the BCS offices where they focused on eliminating communications barriers to international trade.

INTUG is the only global organisation representing business users of communications services worldwide. CMA, as a founder member of INTUG, hosted the day and welcomed delegates from user groups in France, Belgium, Spain and Indonesia as well as a number of independent experts, and a range of leading industry speakers.

David Harrington, CMA's Board Member responsible for regulatory affairs, summarised recent regulatory developments and highlighted the challenges affecting business users

Monica Arino, the Head of International Affairs at OfCom, responded with a unique insight into the latest regulatory trends and future developments, including a valuable update on the work of BEREC. She described the changing role of regulators, as many are being integrated within competition authorities and/or merged with other sector regulators.

Tim Cowen of Sidley Austin and Jean-Jacques Sahel of Microsoft/Skype led an interactive session on the communications and regulatory issues associated with cloud computing, including the rapidly evolving data protection and security implications, and how cloud can add strain to something which isn't working very well, whilst trying to solve the ongoing challenge of managing legacy application trapped in a closed proprietary environment.

Nick White, INTUG's Executive Vice President, reported on the latest progress INTUG has made in reducing the continuing trade barrier of uneconomic roaming charges, especially for mobile data applications. The most recent EU regulatory decision will drive roaming prices down further and the OECD council's recent recommendation will pressure more widespread action. Work is still necessary on this key issue and the ITU and WTO are becoming engaged in the debate about what to do with this persistent problem.

Danielle Jacobs, INTUG's Chairman, reported on INTUG's latest position paper on mobile communications for international companies, a subject which has been a source of major concern from INTUG's members for many years. The third working session with Vodafone and Orange was held recently in Brussels, where leading multinationals made their views known clearly to the mobile network operators. The international mobile position paper will be published shortly to a wide audience including members, operators and regulators.

INTUG's new strategy, which is expanding its geographic coverage through the inclusion of correspondent organisations in additional countries, was formally adopted and the key priorities facing international business users were confirmed as broadband, mobile, cloud computing, network neutrality, standards, interoperability, data protection and security.

INTUG is active globally in a number of international fora and meets in diverse locations to facilitate wide participation. After a successful visit to Hong Kong and China in May 2011, plans are being made to hold the next meeting in Mexico in late 2012 or early 2013.

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