The US has fallen dramatically behind Europe in cellular technology despite being world leaders in communication software, content and electronic commerce.
Yoshio Utsumi, the secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) told an audience of telecoms executives during his keynote speech at the Supercomm trade show in Atlanta on Monday: "The failure to take a global perspective has hurt US companies. Europe is the world leader in digital mobile, with more than 50 per cent of the market."
He panned the US for adopting second generation cellular standards that were only used in a handful of countries, while GSM - the European standard - was favoured by 120 countries, providing subscribers with international roaming capabilities.
The US, however, had a chance to catch up, he added, as the standard for third generation mobile communications began to emerge. The ITU is promoting IMT-2000, its framework for the next generation digital infrastructure, which will bring multimedia services to wireless handheld devices and cellular phones.
Utsumi said: "The shift to third generation multimedia will mean your phone, computer, television, diary and credit card will be in the palm of your hand. It promises to provide users with true global roaming."
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