“All countries in the ME are trying their best to make more and more spectrum available to the operators,” said Tariq Al-Awadhi, executive director Spectrum Affairs at Spectrum Affairs Department at UAE TRA.
“Since the number of operators in each country varies from two to three, and the data requirements are still growing, at present the spectrum available is supportive but at the same time all ME regulators are actively following WRC-15 agenda items 1.1 and 1.2 to make more mobile spectrum available,” he said to CommsMEA.
As the demand for data continues to grow, it is important to explore new potential spectrum bands for telecom services. One of the main outcomes of the ITU World Radio communication Conference (WRC 2012) was the allocation of 700MHz band for mobile services.
“The WRC 2012 did make the allocation of 700MHz band for Mobile but the effective date is after the WRC 2015 which is scheduled in November 2015. However, we are participating in the ITU meetings to make sure the harmonisation of the band in Region 1. In the same time, some countries – like UAE – vacated this band from Digital Broadcasting service for Mobile services,” he commented on these meetings.
Al-Awadhi is also chairman of the Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG). “The ASMG is under the Arab League and the proposals are effectively implemented,” he commented on this organisation.
ITU gathers Europe, Middle East and Africa in the same region (Region 1) regarding the mobile spectrum. Some analysts believe that Europe and the MEA region might adopt different options. Al-Awadhi believes that, at present, the trend in Europe is also similar to the UAE channel plan. “I don’t think there will be different options between Europe and MEA, we are trying our best to make all the same in region 1,” he added.
Read CommsMEA feature on Spectrum aggregation on our September issue.