Conference tackles convergence in telecommunications and media

Here is another one of my articles i contributed to the Star newspaper, the news about the Fifth confercen will be posted at

Jordan’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Omar Kurdi confirmed Tuesday Jordan’s commitment to a comprehensive review of policy sectors of Communications, Information Technology and the postal sector.

Talking during his inauguration of the country’s third Media and telecommunications convergence conference 2006, Kurdi added that Jordan is expected to announce the new policy of the sector during the fourth quarter of the current year.

The conference, which witnessed the participation of over 300 regional and local key players representing the media and telecom sectors in the MENA area, was web cast to around 50 paying subscribers over the Internet for the first time through Join Vision, and was organized by the Arab Advisor Group.

Kurdi said the convergence of communications and media has been widely developed, especially following the upsurge of digital communications technologies, and the expansion in the evolution of modern technology.”

“We believe Media & Telecommunications Convergence offers a great opportunity that Jordan and rest of the region can not ignore, and should make great stride to leverage, for the benefit of their respective economies and people,” he added.

The two-day conference had various interactive sessions in addition to presentations delivered by local and regional key players from telecom and media. The conference speakers were all top executive and decision makers from major operators in the region.
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Chris Forster from the London based ‘Inside Satellite’, which offers new media newsletter, told The Star “I wanted my presentation to open people minds, because we are all trapped by our experience, and I wanted to provoke the delegates to think outside the box, look at what is happening in media and telecom.”

“In telecom there must be more to life than just ring tone and I believe content is what will make the difference,” he added. “I wanted people to understand what may be around the corner of an iPod type device capable of storing 50,000 or 100,000 tunes, or a video device which carried the top 5,000 Hollywood films… I want people to see that today’s business model is going to change. ”

Forster also said that the convergence between the media and telecom is happening today and that telecom needs the content the TV supplies.

In his speech Forster discussed “Mobile TV: current state and prospects”, and he tackled the recent emergence of content materials produced at home by young people and broadcast over the internet to other young people.

Talking about the conversion in Middle East he said, “today it is embryonic and many lesson have yet to be learned.”

Tarek Ayntrazi, Lebanese Future TV’s General Manager, told The Star “it is very interesting conference, I was supposed to leave at the first day but I postpone it for the next day because the conference is interesting.”

Talking about the benefits of the conference he told The Star “we as media –people- will better understand the telecom operator’s vision in conversion and get to know some of the leaders and future leader of the industry.”

Asked about his opinion regarding conversion, he said “video and audio content provided to mobile subscribers via the hand set is a new delivery system, in which we are exploring this opportunity.”

Prof. Ibrahim A. Kadi, Senior Advisor for Communications and Information Commission (CITC) of Saudi Arabia, the telecom regulatory body, told the Star” I am very pleased with the level of members and the quality of interaction they all are professionals, there were a lot of interesting presentations, and lots of interesting discussions.”

He added” we attended the conference basically to draw attention to new business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the largest telecom market for fixed, mobile and the internet.”

In his speech he talked about the liberalization of telecom in Saudi Arabia, where he mentioned that CICT has opened the fixed market for competition for the first time this year, in addition to offer additional mobile license.

Onno Bos form TeliaSonera a telecom operator in Netherlands, who was one of the delegates, told the Star “the conference is good because most of the regional players are present, it gives you an insight of where the market is, and how the parties act on the deregulated market.”

Talking about business opportunities in Jordan and the region he told The Star” we are interested in doing business in Middle East and Jordan, like offering our international services to the regional players like international voice termination, IP (internet protocol) transit –VOIP (voice over IP) and Internet access to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) capacity and specific mobile service like GRX (GPRS rooming exchange), and data rooming MMS (Multimedia messaging service)

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