John Giusti, Deputy Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, commented on the outcome of the final meeting of the Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG) in Rabat, Morocco in preparation for this November’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15):
“The GSMA welcomes the overall outcome of the ASMG meeting to identify new spectrum for mobile in a number of bands. However, we are concerned that not enough new spectrum will be available to give national regulatory authorities the flexibility they need to fully meet long-term mobile data demand.
“Mobile has already made significant progress in closing the digital divide and bringing both communications services and internet access to previously underserved populations across the Arab States, particularly given the lack of fixed line infrastructure in most countries. However, despite the progress to date, there are several markets where less than 20 per cent of the population has internet access1. Securing additional spectrum for mobile at the WRC-15 conference will be crucial to support future mobile broadband growth across the Arab States, as well as enable the mobile industry to help meet governments’ ambitions to develop smart cities, driverless cars and connected energy management in the region.
“The GSMA is pleased with the ASMG’s decision to support a portion of the L-band (1452-1518MHz) for mobile broadband. This band has met with almost global support ahead of WRC-15, which will lead to significant cost benefits for consumers around the world through economies of scale.
“We further commend the ASMG’s support in making 3.4-3.6GHz available in the high capacity C-band for mobile use, giving Arab States citizens access to high-speed mobile broadband in dense urban areas. We will continue our discussions to increase the availability of harmonised spectrum in the 3.4-4.2GHz frequency range to further optimise the delivery of mobile services.
“However, we were disappointed with the ‘no change’ vote for the sub-700MHz UHF band (470-694MHz), which has characteristics suitable for expanding affordable mobile broadband connectivity to remote and underserved communities. Strong support from some Arab countries for a co-primary allocation for mobile and broadcast in the UHF band was underscored by findings of a GSMA study presented to the ASMG, which showed that terrestrial TV penetration has dropped below 20 per cent in the region and continues to fall2. We call on administrations to support a change in the radio regulations at WRC-15 that would give them flexibility to manage this important UHF spectrum resource efficiently and address local market demand.
“Looking ahead to this November, we hope that the WRC-15 process will create a framework that will enable the Arab administrations that want to move forward to secure the future of the mobile internet to do so. We urge all governments throughout the region to plan ahead now and ensure they have the flexibility to satisfy future mobile data demand, as well as achieve the substantial social and economic benefits that mobile broadband would deliver.”
MEA Markets is happy to announce that the MEA Business Awards are returning for the sixth consecutive year! This established awards programme identifies those individuals and companies who excel in their respective industries, encompassing the entirety of the Middle East and Africa in our search to highlight the firms that go above and beyond to establish themselves as business leaders.Visit our awards here
MEA Markets is very proud to host the UAE Business Awards 2023 for its seventh instalment! This awards programme aims to reward a vastly diverse range of hardworking businesses from across the United Arab Emirates region, who are demonstrating innovation and excellence throughout a turbulent economic climate many firms are suffering through.Visit our awards here
For the past five years the African Excellence Awards have recognised the very best of African Industry, and MEA Markets is excited to announce that this respected programme will be returning for its sixth edition in 2023! The African Excellence Awards are an essential guide to the key sectors driving growth throughout the continent, rewarding those outstanding companies and individuals whose entrepreneurship has strengthened Africa’s position as the next global economic powerhouse.Visit our awards here
We have packages to suit everyone. Let us help work out which one would suit your needs!