Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements


Coverage of basic telecommunications and value-added services

Telecommunications services can be divided into two categories:

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Basic telecommunications  

Basic telecommunications include all telecommunication services, both public and private that involve end-to-end transmission of customer supplier information.

Basic telecommunication services are provided:
- through cross-border supply
- AND through the establishment of foreign firms or commercial presence, including the ability own and operate independent telecom network infrastructure

Examples of basic telecommunication services:

(a) Voice telephone services
(b) Packet-switched data transmission services
(c) Circuit-switched data transmission services
(d) Telex services
(e) Telegraph services
(f) Facsimile services
(g) Private leased circuit services
(o) Other

- Analog/digital cellular/mobile telephone services
- Mobile data services
- Paging
- Personal communications services
- Satellite-based mobile services (incl. e.g. telephony, data, paging, and/or PCS)
- Fixed satellite services
- VSAT services
- Gateway earthstation services
- Teleconferencing
- Video transport
- Trunked radio system services

Categories covered by basic telecommunication commitments, unless otherwise specified :
- local
- long distance
- international
- wire-based (including, e.g. all types of cables and, usually, radio portions of fixed infrastructure)
- radio-based (all forms of wireless, including satellite)
- on a resale basis (non-facilities based supply)
- facilities-based supply
- for public use (i.e., services that must be made available to the public generally)
- for non-public use (e.g. services provided for sale to closed user groups)

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Value-added telecommunication services  

Value-added telecommunication services are telecommunications for which suppliers “add value” to the customer's information by enhancing its form or content or by providing for its storage and retrieval.

- on-line data processing
- on-line data base storage and retrieval
- electronic data interchange
- email
- voice mail