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Monday, October 11, 1999 Published at 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK


Business: The Economy

Global telecoms extravaganza

The world's biggest telecoms event starts this week

By the BBC's Richard Quest in Geneva

It's a techies delight - more that one thousand exhibitors from the telecom world showing the best they have to offer.

The telecoms revolution
Telecom 99 is THE showcase for the international telecoms industry. And most of it seems to be here, at the Palexpo Centre; walking about with mobile phones and ear pieces talking to each other.

Every four years tens of thousands of people who work in the industry descend on Geneva for this fiesta of communication.

Technology showcase

It is run by the International Telecommunications Union - a division of the United Nations which sets international standards for telephony.

In the past the ITU event has been a staid affair much taken with discussing agreements and standards. Nothing could be further from the truth this time.

Instead, here in Geneva are the top companies trying to outdo themselves to offer new technology on demand.

Some stands cost millions of dollars are several stories high and have huge video walls and glamorous demonstrations - displaying cellular technology and internet equipment at the cutting edge.

Then there are the hundreds of companies that make the equipment that makes the Internet run.

The fibre optics, the cables, the switches and the computers. They are all here.

Convergence

This time there are some very real and hot issues, notably the idea of convergence.

It is the buzzword in Geneva. Convergence is where all the communications mediums come together. Fixed line phones merging with cellular phones which access the Internet - and then have the ability to let you watch TV.

Walking around the giant Palexpo centre it's easy to think you are glimpsing the future - only to realise this is technology available today.

There is the mobile phone that plays MP3 music in high quality stereo.

And there is another mobile phone that has a mini keyboard which can be attached to write e-mails, eliminating the need to use the number pad.

Soon there will be companies that promise we will be integrating our televisions and computers with the washing machine and kettle - no doubt.



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The Economy Contents

In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree