The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), is reportedly planning to open an India office fairly soon, although specific dates have not yet been given.
In fact, according to Indian news reports, the ITU has now gained agreement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to open its regional office in India.
The new ITU office is expected to be housed at the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) campus in Delhi's Mehrauli. The agency is also expected to relocate regional staff to India as well as to hire a support workforce locally.
The ITU allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.
All of which is highly relevant to India which is, as the ITU is no doubt aware, the second-largest telecom market worldwide by subscriber base, which is over a billion.
The hope is presumably that this move will allow the ITU to work more closely with India and other south Asian countries on telecom regulatory and policymaking issues – particularly spectrum assignment and harmonisation.
There have certainly been issues in India around 5G spectrum, of which operators like Bharti Airtel and Jio feel more should be allocated but which space and defence agencies also want. There’s also the problem of the 26GHz-28GHz band, which both the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and operators would like to see made available, not least in the light of 5G standards approval for the 26GHz band from the ITU.