The UAE concluded 2020 by achieving global leadership in telecom sector quality and evolution, where UAE maintained the first place in the Arab region and regionally, and came second globally for the second consecutive year in “use of telecommunications/ICTs”, which measures the efficiency and evolution of the telecommunications sector in countries around the world as part of the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum.
This achievement also reflects the efforts of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) in implementing the directives and vision of UAE’s wise leadership to up the readiness of the telecommunications sector to leverage modern technology in the country, especially 5G, where the UAE ranked 1st in the Arab Region and 4th globally in launching and using 5G networks. All this thanks to the cooperation and coordination with mobile operators to deploy and operate 5G networks, and the continued work and collaboration with service providers in the country (Etisalat and du) to develop the telecommunications infrastructure in keeping pace with future requirements, thus contributing to the on-going global leadership of the UAE in this sector.
Commenting on this milestone, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TDRA Director General, said, “We conclude this year with such proud achievement, emphasizing the significance of the ICT sector in the strategic thinking of our wise leadership, based on the belief that spearheading the telecom sector paves the way for excellence and leadership in all various vital sectors, meaning enabling digital transformation and easing conditions for providing AI-based services and solutions, and big data. We have all been walking in the path of development, prosperity and digital knowledge, and today we are moving at a faster pace relying on a highly-advanced digital infrastructure.”
Mr. Al Mansoori also added, “Today we live in the year of preparing for the next fifty, as envisaged by the wise leadership to be a year of innovation, creativity and overcoming the impossible, a year for developing a great plan and strategy that meet the aspirations of the Emirati people. During this year, government and private entities—and even individuals—worked in a team spirit to present the best creative ideas to chart the future of the country for the next 50 years. Most of those ideas were based on the ICT sector, confirming the importance of what we have accomplished in the sector, and pushing us further in achieving more achievements."
The report touched on the performance of world's countries during COVID-19, and how social distancing was the immediate response in countries to confront the pandemic. Consequently, the telecommunications and digital services sector had an important role in countries' ability to remotely manage their economic and vital sectors and continue business efficiently. Economies that have relied on advanced telecommunications infrastructure, technology, and the provision of digital services over the Internet have been less affected than others by the dire conditions the world has experienced.
The report pointed to the central role of regulatory frameworks in mitigating the effects of the pandemic, as countries with robust regulatory frameworks were more successful in dealing with the pandemic, and the UAE ranked fourth globally in "digital legal frameworks", according to the report.
The continuing leadership of UAE’s telecommunications sector despite the exceptional circumstances of this year witnessed is evidence of the resilience, development and efficiency of the telecommunications sector in the UAE, which has passed the recovery stage moving towards development of prosperity. TDRA developed plans and strategies that contribute in bolstering the telecommunications sector infrastructure, believing in the pivotal role that this sector plays in achieving the national agenda of UAE Vision 2021. Companies operating telecommunications services in the country have allocated a monumental budget for investment in infrastructure amounting to AED 36 billion, which made the country own an infrastructure among the best in the world in terms of providing "fiber" services and coverage in general. All of this comes in preparation for the upcoming entitlements of UAE Centennial.
The evolution of the telecom infrastructure was a key enabler that contributed to business continuity of vital and commercial sectors in the country during the past months, as well as raising UAE's readiness for future changes and technology, while enabling the UAE to easily adapt to variables, adopt smart techniques such as distance learning and remote working, provide services ensuring the natural pace of work, and provide opportunities for growth and progress.
The UAE ranked first in the world in 12 global competitiveness indicators that measure the quality and development of the telecommunications sector in the countries of the world, and ranked among the top five countries in 30 global competitive indicators by the end of 2020.