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About ETSI - a European Standards Organization with global impact

ETSI provides members with an open, inclusive and collaborative environment. This environment supports the timely development, ratification and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT-enabled systems, applications and services.

We are at the forefront of emerging technologies across all sectors of industry and society that make use of ICT. Our 900+ member organizations are drawn from over 60 countries and five continents.World map

As well as enhancing reputation, the many benefits of membership include:

  • access to the most up-to-date information on global ICT standards
  • direct participation in standards development
  • competitive advantage through early standard adoption
  • opportunities to network with industry leaders

We operate on a not-for-profit basis and are one of only three bodies officially recognized by the EU as a European Standards Organization.

A European Standards Organization

ETSI is a European Standards Organization (ESO). We are the recognized regional standards body dealing with telecommunications, broadcasting and other electronic communications networks and services.

We have a special role in Europe. This includes supporting European regulations and legislation through the creation of Harmonised European Standards. Only standards developed by the three ESOs (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) are recognized as European Standards (ENs).

Our global impact

We were initially founded to serve European needs, but we have a global perspective. Our standards are now used the world over.

We collaborate and work in partnership with different types of organizations around the world. This makes us well placed to support our members who operate in an increasingly international and competitive environment.

In addition, we are a partner in the international Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPPTM). Through this project, we are helping to develop 4G and 5G mobile communications. We also work with partners around the globe in the oneM2M partnership project to develop standards for machine-to-machine communications.

Our vision & mission

Our vision

ETSI is a leading standardization organization for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards fulfilling European and global market needs.

Our mission

To provide platforms for interested parties to work together to produce standards for ICT systems and services that are used globally.

Our long-term strategy

Our long-term strategy is developed by our members. It defines our vision, our mission and the nine basic principles that constitute our core:

  • ETSI's fundamental values about the work it undertakes are timeliness, quality and responsiveness to market needs
  • ETSI is inclusive. Our global membership represents a wide range of stakeholders. We have a global network of partnerships and a consensus approach in our working methods
  • ETSI is fully compliant with WTO/TBT provisions and EU Regulation (EU) 1025/2012
  • ETSI works across all sectors of industry and society that make, use or rely on ICT technology
  • ETSI works at the forefront of developing and emerging technologies
  • ETSI produces technical standards aimed at being adopted by the most competitive markets
  • ETSI promotes the adoption of its technical standards worldwide for the benefit of its members' competitiveness
  • ETSI, in its role as an ESO, provides technical standards supporting EU regulatory requirements and policy
  • ETSI produces technical standards that use spectrum effectively, minimize interference and avoid undesirable effects. We produce our standards in accordance with appropriate regulatory frameworks

Our five strategic objectives are:

  • Being at the heart of digital
  • Being an enabler of standards
  • Being global
  • Being versatile
  • Being inclusive

 Each of these objectives is further detailed in our long-term strategy.

Have a look at our pdfCorporate Brochure.

Funding ETSI

ETSI is registered as an association under French law. This means that we are a not-for-profit organization. Any surplus income is usually returned to our members as credit towards their membership contributions for the following year.

Our funding comes from various sources including:

  • Annual membership contributions – providing most of our income. Contributions are calculated according to the size of the member company or organization. Reduced contributions are charged for user associations, academic and research bodies and small businesses.
  • European Union– the European Commission (EC) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) issue standardization requests – and provide funding – for us to develop specific standards, particularly Harmonised Standards, or for other related work. This is often in support of European legislation. They also provide general funding in support of our activities as a European Standards Organization (ESO). Together, this funding amounts to 15%–20% of our budget.
  • Income from ‘commercial’ activities – including sales of standards, fees for events (such as interoperability testing events) and services to outside organizations.
  • Contributions from partner organizations – e.g. services performed on behalf of collaborative activities, such as the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP™).

Expenditure includes:

  • The provision of technical, project management and administrative support to our technical committees and other standards-related activities. This includes the operating costs of the ETSI Secretariat.
  • Specialist Task Forces
  • Interoperability testing events, workshops, etc.
  • Special projects, typically in support of EC/EFTA research and development programmes.

Financial management

The ETSI Directives provide guidelines for the administration of our finances. This is overseen by a Finance Committee appointed by our General Assembly. The Director General is responsible for the day-to-day implementation and management of our finances.

Financial statements

Financial statements are provided to our members at each meeting of the General Assembly. Summary statements are included in our Annual Report.

History of ETSI

ETSI was set up in 1988 by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) in response to proposals from the European Commission.

There have been many significant events and achievements since ETSI was created – and many of them have had a global impact.

The list below highlights some of the landmarks in our history.

  • 2019: Re-election of Luis Jorge Romero as Director-General (2019 to 2024)
  • 2019: First Releases of 5G ready for implementation
  • 2018: Number of standards published passes 40 000 mark
  • 2017: The Radio Equipment Directive (RED) completed its transition period supported by Harmonised Standards from ETSI
  • 2016: oneM2M release 2 specifications published
  • 2015: oneM2M release 1 specifications published
  • 2013: Regulation 1025/2012 replaced Directive 98/34/EC. ETSI is officially confirmed as a European Standards Organization, ETSI can be mandated by EC to produce standards and specifications to meet policy needs, esp. legislative needs (e.g. Harmonised Standards), ICT standardization distinctly recognized, ETSI direct participation model recognized
  • 2012: Number of standards published passes 30 000 mark
  • 2012: ETSI launches Cloud Standards Co-ordination at request of the EC
  • 2012: ETSI is a founding partner in the launch of the oneM2M partnership initiative for the global deployment of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications systems
  • 2011: Election of Luis Jorge Romero as Director-General (2011 to 2016 - 1st term of 5 years & 2016 to 2019 - prolongation until next election)
  • 2009: First LTE Release completed
  • 2008: Number of standards produced passes 20 000 mark
  • 2006: Introduction of Industry Specification Groups (ISGs)
  • 2006: Election of Walter Weigel as Director-General (2006 to 2011)
  • 2002: First releases of UMTS ready for implementation
  • 2002: Number of standards produced passes 10 000 mark
  • 2001: The ETSI Bake-Off service is re-branded as ETSI  PlugtestsTM
  • 2000: ETSI introduces Testing and Test Control Notation version 3 (TTCN-3), which has gone on to become a globally successful test specification language
  • 2000: Launch of ‘eEurope’ by the European Union – ETSI participates to provide standards for ‘An Information Society for All’
  • 2000: Number of standards produced passes 5 000 mark
  • 1999: The ETSI Bake-Off service (later to become Plugtests™) is created
  • 1999: ETSI introduces paperless meetings
  • 1999: ETSI makes all standards freely available on the web
  • 1998: ETSI is a founding partner in the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP™)
  • 1998: Directive 98/34/EC: Replaces Directive 83/189/EEC, ETSI officially recognised as a European Standards Organization
  • 1997: Creation of the ETSI PAS process that enables an ETSI partner to submit Publicly Available Specifications for adoption by ETSI
  • 1997: ETSI starts to create European Standards (ENs), replacing European Telecommunications Standards (ETSs)
  • 1996: ETSI Board created to replace the Technical Assembly
  • 1995: Number of standards produced passes 1 000 mark
  • 1995: ETSI publishes the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) standard for use by emergency services and others
  • 1993: ETSI establishes its Intellectual Property Rights policy
  • 1993: ETSI officially confirmed as a European Standards Organization under directive 83/189/EEC
  • 1992: ETSI introduces distribution of standards documents to National Standards Organizations via satellite
  • 1990: Global Standards Collaboration process launched, to enhance co-operation between standards organisations around the world
  • 1990: ETSI establishes Joint Technical Committee with the European Broadcasting Union to produce broadcast-related standards (CENELEC joined in 1995)
  • 1990: ETSI, CEN and CENELEC sign joint co-operation agreement
  • 1990: Election of Karl-Heinz Rosenbrock as Director-General (1990 to 2006)
  • 1989: GSM committee transferred from CEPT to ETSI
  • 1988: First GSM specs ready for implementation
  • July 1988: First ETSI Technical Assembly
  • Mid-1988: Secretariat begins work
  • May 1988: Professor Diodato Gagliardi appointed as Director-General of ETSI (1988 to 1990)
  • April 1988: The first stone of ETSI’s new purpose-built headquarters laid
  • March 1988: First ETSI General Assembly
  • January 1988: Creation of ETSI
  • 1987: GSM Memorandum of Understanding signed
  • 1987: The Directors-General of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) take a decision in principle to found ETSI
  • 1987: The EC publishes a Green Paper which first floated the idea of a European Telecommunications Standards Institute
  • 1986: The European Commission (EC) leads a fact-finding mission on telecommunications to the US