Catch up on all the sessions from the event, as well as showcases from some of our event partners.
The 6th MENA Spectrum Management Conference took place in a Hybrid Format from 30 June – 1 July 2022, in Tunis and Online.
The event gathered key stakeholders to discuss topical issues relating to the management and coordination of spectrum policy across the region. During the 2 days attendees had the opportunity to get involved and engage through interactive sessions, networking opportunities, exhibition area and much more.
The conference is part of The Global Spectrum Series. The world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy conferences.
The last edition of the MENA Spectrum Management Conference was held in February 2020, when the region was still at a very early stage in the preparations for WRC-23. Delegates at that event were asked what they thought would be the most prominent issue at WRC-23, and overwhelmingly voted for the UHF band (40%), with 3.3-3.8GHz (21%) in second place, and 6GHz (21%) third. Now almost 18 months on and with preparations for WRC-23 moving ahead at pace, this session will bring together experts from across different stakeholder groups to discuss the progress that has been made on preparatory work and preliminary studies in these key areas and more. With Covid restrictions meaning that preparatory meetings and discussions have been taking place online rather than in person, it will look at the challenges that this has caused, at the extent to which progress is on track, and the work that still needs to be done to ensure a successful outcome for WRC-23 for the ASMG region and more broadly. At the end of the session, delegates will once again be asked to vote on what they see as being the most prominent issue at WRC, to see whether opinions have changed.
Countries across the MENA region were amongst the first in the world to award 5G spectrum and start the rollout of networks. And whilst others in the region are a little further back in their 5G journey, progress is continuing at pace across the region to identify spectrum for 5G and start the development of national 5G roadmaps. With the rollout and evolution of 5G services continuing to move forward in this way, this session will take stock and provide an update of where we currently are and look at examples of best practice and lessons that can be taken from experiences in 5G rollout so far. It will also look at the next stages in 5G evolution across the region, and the expected timeframe ahead.
The next 3 sessions will take the opportunity to focus in detail on 3 frequency ranges that are amongst the most sought after bands across Arab countries and globally – the 6GHz band, the 3.8-4.2GHz band and the 470-694MHz band. What’s the future of these key bands and of the industry players who are competing over access to them?
The debate surrounding the future of the 6GHz band continues – it has become one of the most hotly contested frequency ranges across the Arab region and elsewhere around the world. The WiFi community argue that there are numerous social and economic benefits of making the band available on a licence-exempt basis, and that it is vital to help address the digital divide, improving rural connectivity and accelerate economic innovation. At the same time however, with demand for spectrum for mobile on the rise, the IMT community has argued that the potential that the 6GHz band has to provide contiguous bandwidth of 1200 MHz as an ideal option to provide mid-band capacity for the expansion of 5G. With positions now emerging in countries across the ASMG region and globally on their approaches on the future of the band, this session will look at the current situation in the region and discuss the best way forward for countries looking to make the optimal use of the valuable bandwidth that is available.
The 3.3 – 4.2GHz C-band contains some of the most sought after mid-band spectrum for both IMT and satellite users in the Arab region and across the rest of the world. It is seen as one of the critical bands for the launch of 5G services, and also for the delivery of satellite services across large sections of the Arab states. This session will look at the current shape of the band, and future plans for its use by different stakeholders. It will look at progress that has been made in the 3.4 – 3.6 GHz portion of the band, where 5G networks have been rolled out in a number of countries in the region following its allocation for IMT at WRC-19, but where spectrum still remains unallocated in other countries. It will also look at discussions around the 3-3 – 3.4 GHz and 3.6 – 3.8 GHz bands, which are being studied for co-primary use for IMT at WRC-23. And finally, will examine the long-term future of the 3.8 – 4.2 GHz frequencies, where discussions in Europe and elsewhere have been taking place on possibly licencing parts of the band for 5G use on either a local or national basis. What balance should be taken across the 3.4 – 4.2GHz band to meet the needs of all key users, and to ensure the best use of the available spectrum for stakeholders across the Arab region?
The 600MHz (470-694) band has historically been allocated for terrestrial TV both across the Arab region and most of the world. Moves have been taken in some countries however to look to reallocate this spectrum to provide additional low-band coverage for 5G. In the Arab region, Saudi Arabia have become the first country to move forward with these plans, with an auction in the band expected in mid 2022. This session will look at the current thinking across the region with regards to the future of this key band. It will examine the extent to which there is a requirement in the region for additional low-band converge spectrum for 5G, and at how the needs for this can be met alongside safeguarding the needs of other key users of UHF spectrum such as broadcasters, PPDR and PMSE.
A key objective of all regulators and spectrum policymakers is to provide a regulatory framework that enables regulatory certainty for existing spectrum users to grow and innovate whilst also enabling the opportunity for new services to emerge. Strategies to deliver this must be flexible enough to react to changes and developments in the market and in technologies, but also provide the regulatory certainty to encourage investment. This session will look at how the goals can be delivered, and at the extent to which traditional spectrum regulatory and licencing regimes are sufficiently flexible to meet the requirements of an innovative and fast-moving sector. It will explore options for administrations looking to streamline models for spectrum licencing, access and general regulation, and how this can help contribute to innovation and growth within the mobile, satellite and other key sectors.
Whilst the rollout of 5G networks continues, attention around the world is already starting to switch to what comes next, and the path towards B5G and eventually 6G/IMT2030. As the journey towards this next phase of future wireless connectivity begins, this session will focus on what this evolution of the connectivity landscape will look like, and at what needs to be done to ensure that the power of wireless can continue to push our world forward. It will look at the expected evolution of services over the next decade, and the expectations and visions for next generation technologies.
The shape of non-terrestrial connectivity is evolving. A rapidly increasing number of NGSO and SmallSat networks are being launched alongside more traditional GSO networks. Earth Stations in Motions (ESIMs) connectivity is making huge advancements driven by innovation both on the ground and in space. High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) and HAPS as IMT base stations (HIBS) are increasingly being considered as viable options to provide broadband connectivity in remote locations. This brings a range of new exciting opportunities, but also a number of regulatory challenges as policymakers look to ensure that the licencing rules and frameworks that govern access to spectrum for these key technologies keeps pace with the needs of this rapidly evolving and increasingly crowded sector. This session will explore the connectivity needs of the innovative new non-terrestrial technologies and business models that are emerging today. It will discuss the best way forward to ensure a future-proof and flexible licencing system to meet these needs and deliver the next generation of space based connectivity.
This conference will be held under a Hybrid Format. To ensure the health and safety of our speakers, attendees, sponsors and staff while maximising interaction amongst participants, in-person attendance at this event may be limited.
We will continue to monitor developments around the COVID-19 pandemic, follow recommendations regarding masks, social distancing, and sanitation set out by the venue and local authorities and may revise the capacity limit based on the advice received.
Launched in 2014, and now in its sixth year, The MENA Spectrum Management Conference has previously taken place in Dubai, Marrakech and Abu Dhabi.
This event takes places as part of the Global Spectrum Series – the world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy conferences.
Taking place in Abu Dhabi, UAE in February 2020, we were joined by more than 150 delegates. Find more information and catch up on the highlights at the links below.