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In a step that represents an actual initiation of a new era of telecommunications in the UAE, the TRA announced the initiation of IMT2020 technology, also known as the 5G technology, as the licensees from mobile operators in the UAE will start the deployment of 5G networks in several phases starting from early 2018, allowing the use of harmonized spectrum bands and the development of the ICT infrastructure.

This development facilitates the implementation of the UAE top strategic directives, including the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Artificial Intelligence, smart city, and the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, it will facilitate handling big data transfer between machines (M2M) and IoT, as well as expanding the speed and capacity of multiple folds of Gigabits per second, for providing new services that meet the requirements of the digital transformation and smart government.

Moreover, initiating the 5G will enable the UAE to achieve its global competitiveness objectives, particularly its stated goal of achieving the first rank globally in Online Services Index (OSI), and be among the top ten ranks in the Network Readiness Index (NRI).

In this regards, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, said: "We are proud to be among the first countries that apply the 5G technology of telecommunications, which is in line with our leadership directives and the UAE vision 2021, which places our country in its deserved position among the top countries of the world."

In the last few years, the telecommunications sector has been the main driver of all the progress in all development sectors. However, rapid global developments and the transition of humanity to the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have enhanced the status of this sector, making it the main nerve of major digital transformations, and the incubator of evolution on all tracks including science, economy, education or other vital fields."

H.E. Al Mansoori added: "We are optimistic that we will be able to achieve the objectives of the next phase, building on our accumulated achievements in the telecommunications sector and on our strategic plans that take into account current and future global developments, and based on the efforts of licensed operators who have always demonstrated their support for our leadership's vision for the future, and their will to contribute in making it for the benefit of our future generation."

It is worth mentioning that the TRA, as part of its initiative to launch IMT-2020 services in the UAE, has formed three committees working under the supervision of the UAE 5G steering committee. The three committees work in a coordinated manner in the fields of spectrum, verticals and network aspects. The UAE 5G steering committee aims also to establish a systematic framework in the UAE to help UAE ICT stakeholders to test these IMT2020 networks and achieve the optimum use in meeting their needs.

These 5G enabled services will form an important element to enhance all aspects of our life and services provided in various sectors such as Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), smart learning and education, smart health devices, energy and industrial sectors and other lifestyle aspects.

The UAE has been among the first countries worldwide to conduct several advanced technological trials towards the development of IMT2020 since 2016 to experience ultra-broadband throughputs on mobility. The UAE 5G Steering Committee has continuous efforts in collaboration with Mobile Service Licensees and other Government and private sectors to ensure the complete coordination between the stakeholders in the UAE in providing advanced mobile service.

In this context, the TRA supports allocating and identifying certain harmonized frequency bands to IMT 2020, and promote globally harmonized ecosystems that will best serve the UAE public interest and decrease deployment costs. Different frequency bands are considered to facilitate the deployment of 5G in the UAE for the purposes of coverage and capacity over wide areas, small areas, hotspots and indoor implementations. The deployment plans and venues are discussed closely with operators to ensure the successful launch of this technology. The UAE TRA will support the suitability of some of these bands and supports initiating 5G technology early deployment in the following bands for before the year 2020:

  • 1427-1518 MHz
  • 3300-3800 MHz
  • 24.25 - 27.5 GHz

In addition, 40 GHz range will be considered for 5G technology beyond the year 2020. The UAE will assign specific ranges within some of the mentioned frequency bands, considering ongoing the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) studies for the protection of other existing services, and the results of World Radiocommunications Conference 2019 (WRC-19), in addition to the progress of global 5G ecosystems developments.

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