UAE Elected to head the Arab Spectrum Management Group

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UAE, July 25, 2016 – The UAE, represented by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), head the 21st Arab Spectrum Management Group meeting, which concluded recently in Cairo, Egypt, as part of the preparatory meetings for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-2019).

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During the meeting, the Arab Spectrum Management Group discussed the results of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15), the most significant and latest services and developments in radio communications, as well as their economic, technological and social impacts on Arab countries. The meeting also covered discussions on the development of a road map in preparation for the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019.

H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the TRA, said: “We are proud of the UAE having been elected for the third time to head the ASMG. This reflects the confidence of our Arab counterparts in the UAE’s potentials and our Nationals, its position in the telecommunication sector, and the role it plays in the Arab and international forums and events.”

Al Mansoori noted the importance of the meeting to coordinate and solidify Arab efforts and approaches in the field of spectrum management and develop the capacities of Arab countries in this area, adding that the huge progress in technologies and applications that use radio services calls for keeping up with these developments to provide the best tools and modern technologies and use them to develop the ICT sector and serve the society.

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Eng. Tariq Al Awadhi, Executive Director for Spectrum Management at the TRA, said that the meeting, which brought together an elite group of decision makers and experts in spectrum management in the Arab World, highlights the value of cooperation and participation in planning and management of radio spectrum, especially in Arab regions, and is an effective means to iron out problems and issues that hinders the development in the telecommunications sector. Al Awadhi emphasized the Arab region’s effectiveness in managing regional and international forums related to spectrum, which has accomplished numerous projects at international conferences, especially the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC).

The Arab group also discussed restructuring and chairing the ASMG until 2020, where Eng. Tariq Al Awadhi was elected for the third time to head the Arab Spectrum Management Group. Eng. Tariq Al Awadhi has been working in the frequency spectrum field for about 20 years and has successfully represented the UAE several times during his participations in various international conferences. He also held leading positions in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Arab League as well as the Committees of Gulf Cooperation Council and the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12). Al Awadhi has been heading the Technical Committee of the GCC Technical Office at the GCC General Secretariat since 2003 and the Arab Spectrum Management Group since 2008.

The major outcomes of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) include obtaining additional spectrum for mobile broadband, including a global allocation for the 700 MHz band, as well as the 1400 and 3500 MHz bands. The new band allocation is expected to meet the growing needs of countries to be able to introduce new technologies.

During the 21st meeting, the Arab Group discussed all the outputs of the conference and recommended the need for all Arab countries to upgrade their national spectrum plans to be in compliance with the amendments and changes to existing radio regulations. The UAE is the first Arab country in the world to upgrade its national spectrum plan which was approved by the Spectrum Coordination Committee and adopted by the TRA Board of Directors.

Among the most important achievements of WRC-15 is the updating of National Spectrum Plan for each country, with the UAE being the first Arab country to comply with the requirements. At WRC-15, Arab countries were requested to evacuate vital frequencies for broadband services, especially the band 700, 800, 3400 MHz, and allocate the band 700 for protection and relief services in case of disasters.

The meeting also tackled the preparation procedures for WRC-2019, where Arab countries have developed a work plan discussing the agenda for the next conference, as well as clarifying the details for coordinating with other regional countries that will be part of the conference preparation.

During the meeting, the group also agreed to allow international organizations, manufacturers and suppliers to participate in ASMG working group meetings for the first time. It aims to tap their expertise in developing technologies, standards and studies that will help the Arab countries to take the appropriate decision. The UAE has been leading in this area, having formed a national team that included manufacturers, suppliers, companies and licensed parties, as well as other government agencies headed by the TRA.

A new mechanism was developed to coordinate among the Arab countries, where six working groups were formed within the ASMG to study and participate in various work committees of the ITU and provide the working papers on behalf of the Arab nations.

The meeting has set the goals of the next conference which looks into creating new frequency bands for future services, such as 5G, IoT and M2M, in addition to new frequencies for satellite services, space services, Earth remote sensing, remote sensing, amateur services, mobile and fixed services in the high frequency bands, and marine and air services among others.

The UAE has been leading worldwide in the field of providing frequencies for broadband mobile services, having allocated the most number of band frequencies to operators for mobile services, it also aims to provide suitable environment for all radio services and conducting a number of experiments for new radio services.

It is worth mentioning that the ASMG was established in 2001 by a decision of the Council of Arab Ministers of Telecommunications and Information of the Arab League, with the aim of consolidating cooperation in the field of spectrum management through sharing and knowledge exchange on developments in radio communications, as well as the managing and coordinating all issues related to spectrum management, the World Radiocommunication Conferences and other concerns related to spectrum in the Arab countries and World Radiocommunication Conferences.

The Arab Group has made huge accomplishments in the area, such as submitting research studies on various radio services to ITU study committees; coordinating new 470-862 MHz spectrums for digital terrestrial television mobile services; offering new spectrum frequencies to meet the requirements of mobile broadband services, in addition to acquiring leading positions in the ITU such as the UAE chairing the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 and being nominated to chair the preparatory meeting for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019.