UAE adds power to mobile broadband

UAE adds power to mobile broadband Issac John / 23 May 2013 The UAE on Wednesday took a critical initiative to stay ahead in broadband connectivity race by unveiling its band plan for 700MHz and the launch of spectrum in the 800MHz band for mobile broadband services. The move by the UAE is quite decisive as the mobile broadband market in the Arab countries is set to increase by 255 per cent by 2017 to 142 million connections, with the potential to generate $108 billion in GDP between 2015 and 2025. The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, or TRA, said by allocating these bands to mobile broadband with the equivalent global device ecosystems would best serve the UAE public interest, driving down costs and minimising interference along borders. By combining the 800MHz band plan for Europe, Middle East and Africa with the lower duplexer (2 X 30 MHz) — as a baseline — of the Asia Pacific (APT) 700MHz band, the UAE will be the first country in the ITU Region 1 to reap the benefits of both bands, which will support affordable network rollout, benefiting more of the population with mobile broadband connectivity. Majed Al Mesmar, Deputy Director-General for Telecommunications Sector, said by maximising the spectrum for mobile broadband in harmony with the growing economies of scale for both bands, the TRA decision would enable nearly global interoperability and roaming. “The UAE is predicting a rising demand for global harmonisation of the APT 700MHz band benefiting in the growing ecosystem of devices from Asia Pacific across the Middle East and Africa, through to Latin America,” Al Mesmar added. The UAE 700MHz will bring important benefit for the country of utilising the lower duplexer of the APT700 as a base line with the possibility for additional 2 x 10 MHz for more spectral efficiency and for Public Protection and Disaster Relief applications. In addition, 5 MHz has also been considered for direct mode operation to cater for the same purpose. With mobile voice penetration already high in the UAE, future growth will depend on the development of mobile broadband. In order to achieve this, mobile operators will need to have access to additional spectrum, which should be released in a globally harmonised way. The decision today confirms the UAE TRA’s leadership in allocating harmonised spectrum to mobile services. Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer of Global System for Mobile Communications Association, said the TRA “has demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision with its decision to allocate new spectrum bands for mobile broadband services.” Phillips said with the prospect of Arab broadband market generating $108 billion in GDP by 2025, other markets are expected to follow suit. He described the combining of the 800MHz band plan for Europe, Middle East and Africa with the lower portion of the Asia Pacific 700MHz band as a significant step forward. “This will ultimately provide a broader choice of devices and more affordable mobile broadband services to the citizens of the UAE and across the Arab states,” Phillips said. — Taylor Scott International

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