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The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced the allocation of a new frequency band that allows UAE telecom operators to expand the application of 5G, in line with the decisions of the World Radio communication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), which was a pivotal stage in the transition towards 5G, as it allocated frequency bands for countries to be used in implementing the new technology.

With this development, the UAE has taken a new step towards comprehensive implementation of 5G, which is a key enabler of smart cities and the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Frequencies in the millimeter wave range between 24.25 - 27.5 GHz have been allocated to the development of 5G networks, which strengthens the UAE’s leading position in the region, as the first in the Middle East and North Africa to allocate this range.

This will help the deployment and use of 5G, which will support various sectors and institutions in their endeavor to use emerging technologies and their various applications such as self-driving cars, robots, smart industry, big data, and the Internet of things.

The band will be allocated in two phases based on the equipment availability. The first phase is scheduled to start on the first of September 2020, in which the frequency band 26.5-27.5 GHz will be allocated to the operators. The second phase will start in the third quarter of 2021, through which 1 GHz will be allocated per operator in the (25.5 - 27.5 GHz) range.

The new 1 GHz bandwidth will provide each of the mobile operators with an opportunity to enhance and develop wireless broadband services using 5G technologies in terms of speed and data volume compared to 4G. It will also provide other additional features such as higher rates to transfer data per second and enhanced communications capacity per square kilometer, while ensuring the quality of services and increasing performance efficiency compared to previous generations.

TRA also confirmed that 5G deployment in the UAE by the licensees complies with Guidelines on Limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields approved by recognized international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and in line with TRA’s framework for Non-Ionizing Radiation Limits for Telecommunication Networks.

Commenting on this decision, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, said: “5G technologies play a vital role in developing smart cities and societies, as they accelerate access to a more digitally connected world. These technologies have enormous capacity that can be combined with other technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data, in order to enhance the digitalization process and enrich the digital economy and infrastructure in the UAE."

H.E. Al Mansoori added: “This decision comes in line with the UAE Strategy for 5G and beyond (2020-2025), as the provision of frequency spectrum for 5G contributes to building a high-standard global communication platform, and enabling the UAE to use and apply the latest ICT, to provide global standards services, achieve long-term social and economic benefits in various areas such as manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, and education. Moreover, this initiative comes as a result of international coordination and technical studies that have lasted more than 4 years, which highlights the importance of international coordination and harmony in providing access to this important part of the spectrum.”

Al Mansoori stressed that the UAE is always striving to strengthen the telecommunications infrastructure and raise the efficiency of its national resources. He added, “We spare no effort to develop the telecommunications sector and achieve equitable access to the required resources of the frequency spectrum, to promote the deployment of 5G in the UAE, and thus develop smart services, accelerate the process of digital transformation and achieve sustainable development goals.”

The UAE strategy for 5G and beyond (2020-2025) focuses on 5G deployment and coverage, as well as the establishment of leading partnerships to support a diverse ecosystem. It also enhances cooperation between telecom service providers and vertical sectors in the UAE that wish to benefit from 5G.

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