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NTIA Chief Reports on 3G Wireless in Asia

(December 13, 2000) NTIA chief Greg Rohde met with reporters on Tuesday, December 12 to report on the ITU's Asia Telecom 2000 conference, and his bilateral talks on 3G wireless technologies with other government officials. "We are going to see Asia play a very significant role in the development of the Internet," said Rohde.

See, Transcription of Rohde's Press Conference, Dec. 12, 2000.

Gregory Rohde attended the International Telecommunication Union's TELECOM ASIA 2000, a regional telecommunications exhibition and forum for the Asia-Pacific region. It was held from December 4 through 9 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

Greg Rohde

Rohde is Administrator of the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and an Assistant Secretary of Commerce. (See, biography in NTIA web site.)

"Not only is the Internet going to change China and Asia, but Asia is going to change the nature of the Internet. Currently, the United States as is the dominant player, a lot of the content is developed here." Rohde continued, "but, that is going to very quickly change when 3G rolls out in Asia. As you can see more and more Asians using the Internet, accessing the Internet, a lot more development of local content in the Asia region."

Rohde and Malcolm Lee went to the Hong Kong conference to meet with their counterparts from other governments to talk about Third Generation (3G) wireless technologies, and other issues. Lee is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, and the United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, at the Department of State.

Asia is really on fire when it comes to wireless services. I mean, Third Generation wireless is exploding there.
      Greg Rohde

"A big topic of discussion in all of our bilaterals was Third Generation wireless," said Rohde. "They have obviously seen and read about our efforts to move ahead very aggressively in a very tight time frame. A lot of countries are very interested in knowing about that process. We had a chance to explain that."

"But, more importantly we talked about the need for us to closely coordinate between North America and Asia." Rohde elaborated that "one of the desires of Third Generation wireless is that there be harmonization. All of us who belong to the ITU, the United States, Asian countries, and others, have, in addition to identifying addition spectrum, at least for 3G, all agree to the principle of harmonization. So, it is something, it is a goal that we all share, and requires that we all have a lot of coordination between us."

Related Documents
(Links are to the NTIA and White House web sites.)
President Clinton's Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding 3G, 10/13/00.
Council of Economic Advisors' report titled The Economic Impact of Third-Generation Wireless Technology [PDF], 10/20/00.
NTIA's Plan to Select Spectrum for Third Generation Wireless Systems in the United States, 10/20/00.

Rohde also talked about the importance of moving quickly to develop 3G in the United States. "When you look at the potential of the Chinese market, and how this is a huge huge market. It already is a big market. But, very soon, China is going to have more cell users than the United States, because it is growing very quickly. And the second largest carrier there is now using a U.S. technology. And also, when you look elsewhere in Asia, in Korea, they are also using a CDMA 2000 technology, which is a U.S. technology. And that is going to be the technology for their roll out of 3G. So, this is very significant."

"This is one of the reasons that the United States has to move very aggressively on developing 3G. Otherwise, we will be stuck with having to adopt other technologies that are developed elsewhere around the world. We don't want to do that. We want to have U.S. technology playing a lead role. And the way to do that is we have to be on the forefront of developing 3G."

Rohde continued that the more "aggressively that the United States moves ahead in developing 3G and making spectrum available and the services out there, the greater likelihood that U.S. technology is going to keep pace in this race."

Rohde stated that international harmonization is a goal. However, he added that 3G services may use multiple spectrum bands, and that "there will be multiple technologies out there -- GSM and CDMA." 

Conference Speeches
at ITU Telecom Asia 2000

(Links are to the ITU web site.)
Opening Speech by Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary General, ITU.
Closing Speech by Yoshio Utsumi.
Opening Ceremony Speech by Chee Hwa Tung, Chief Exec. of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region.
Welcome Reception Speech by Chee Hwa Tung
Speech by Carrie Yau, Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting.
Welcome Remarks by Carrie Yau.

"You can have multiple standards. But, it is definitely different between three, as opposed to twenty or fifty. Then it becomes unworkable. When you get it down to a small handful of standards, then it is easier for manufacturers to make these devices, and it will make it easier for these things to roam, and harmonize around the world."

Rohde also addressed the process of locating, and reallocating spectrum for 3G in the U.S. "This process can't be one that just shuts down existing services. It has got to one, that if we are going to allocate additional spectrum, wherever it might come from on one of the candidate bands, then we have to figure out how can those services that are currently being provided in that band be moved somewhere else, and be done, and how do we make sure that that is going to happen."

Rohde defended the U.S. policy of auctioning spectrum. "We have made every mistake possible in the auction process." However, "we think auctions is the more efficient means to allocate spectrum, and the fairest."

Rohde also stated that the bilateral talks with government officials addressed China and the World Trade Organization. "We also spoke about the importance of their accession into the WTO." He added that "we pressed upon them the need for transparency in the regulatory process (and) openness and fairness in the regulatory process."

Rohde was also asked about ongoing disputes with China regarding domain names. Rohde answered that "we never discussed it in our bilaterals." But, he added, "we are putting our confidence in ICANN ... and would like to see others participate."

Gregory Rohde held bilateral discussions with the following people:

  • Wu Jichuan, Chinese Minister of Information Industry.
  • Kouji Hamada, Japan Vice Minister of Posts & Telecommunications.
  • Carrie Yau, Hong Kong Secretary of Information Technology and Broadcasting.
  • Anthony Wong, Hong Kong Office of Telecommunications Authority Director General.
  • Michael Binder, Associate Deputy Minister, Industry Canada.

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