The 7th MENA Spectrum Management Conference
The 7th MENA Spectrum Management Conference took place on 13-14 September 2023, at The Gulf Hotel in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, alongside the 31st Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG) meeting.
Attendees had the opportunity to be involved in discussions on the key spectrum topics for the MENA region and beyond, through interactive sessions, networking opportunities, an 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 ASMG plenary meeting held over the past few days has provided the opportunity to finalise regional positions and perspectives ahead of WRC-23. Taking into account these final decisions that have been made, this session will look more broadly at what the key objectives for the MENA region should be at the conference and at what needs to be done to ensure that these are achieved.
The Arab region has been one of the leading players in 5G rollout and growth. Countries in the region were amongst the first to assign key mid-band spectrum for 5G, and since then 5G has seen robust growth in the region, with countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE leading the way both in terms of spectrum availability for 5G and overall network growth and coverage. This session will look at the drivers that have enabled this growth, and more broadly at how the progress that has been seen fits with the initial targets that were set. With other countries in the region at an earlier stage in their 5G journey and preparing their strategy to make spectrum available and start to rollout networks, it will look at the lessons that can be taken from rollout experiences in the region so far, and at how all countries in the region can come together to deliver a coordinated strategy for the continued growth and development of 5G technologies.
A decision was taken back at WRC-15 to identify the 1427-1518MHz L-band for IMT, and ASMG subsequently took decision to select a TDD channel plan for the region (a different approach to Europe and the Americas, both of which have taken an SDL approach). Despite this, little progress has been seen across Arab states with regards to the deployment of services. This session will look at the reasons for this slow progress, the challenges and obstacles that are being seen, and at what needs to be done going forward in order to roll out IMT services in this key band.
The spectrum landscape across mid-band frequencies has evolved significantly over the last few years, and with WRC-23 seeing more important decisions taken on the future of key frequencies in the range, the environment will likely change further over the next few years. Following this, the spectrum across most frequencies in the range will have then been assigned. This session will explore the broad ecosystem that has emerged across these mid-range bands (1GHz – 6GHz) and discuss the balance that is being seen in terms of the amount of spectrum that is available to different technologies and users. It will look at the different licensing and access models that are being used in the region across different bands, and at the spectrum that is being made available on a licenced, unlicenced and shared basis. Taking all this into account, it will explore the extent to which the value of these key bands has been maximised, and the best way forward to ensure the best possible outcome for consumers and businesses across the region.
The global space and satellite sector is evolving massively, with exciting and innovative new technologies and business models emerging. This rapid evolution is bringing with it a swathe of exciting new opportunities, but also a number of regulatory challenges, particularly in the area of connectivity. This session will look at the current regulatory regime that governs access to spectrum for GSOs and NGSOs, and at the work that is being done to ensure that this is still appropriate given the way that the sector is evolving. It will explore the measures that are in place to ensure the protection of spectrum rights, and the licensing and sharing rules that govern access to spectrum for satellite services. Looking at the possibilities offered by direct satellite-to-device connectivity and some of the other exciting innovations that are emerging in the sector, it will discuss the best way forward to ensure the satellite sector can continue to thrive as we move towards 6G.
This session will provide the opportunity to hear from experts on some of the latest thinking around spectrum policy in the region. Focussing on different elements of spectrum licencing and spectrum management more broadly, speakers will discuss best practice and look to plans for delivering the best possible framework in the region going forward.
Whilst work across the MENA region is continuing on the rollout of 5G networks, attention is also starting to turn to what comes next, and on delivering the required spectrum to meet the future needs of 6G. Whilst initial research around 6G was focussed on the possibilities of Sub-THz and THz frequencies, more recently, attention has shifted more towards 7GHz – 24GHz ‘centimetric’ frequencies, which are now being described by some as the ‘essential’ 6G range. Spectrum in this centimetric range is, however, already intensively used by many well-established services, including satellite, commercial radar, fixed links services and more, and opening the band for IMT use would not be simple. This session will look at the potential that this range offers for 6G and the challenges that would need to be overcome in order to deliver this. More broadly, it will examine other methods for delivering the required spectrum, and the role that refarming and increased spectrum sharing and flexibility could play. Ultimately, it will look at the work that needs to be done to build a spectrum roadmap that delivers the connectivity for Arab countries to lead the way when it comes to 6G.
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.
International visitors can apply for an eVisa via the online portal. For visa application and requirements, kindly fill the visa request form and ensure all information requested is accurate as per the information in your passport
For further assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ensure you put in the subject of the email “MENA Spectrum visa assistance”.
Launched in 2014, and now in its seventh year, The MENA Spectrum Management Conference has previously taken place in Dubai, Marrakech, Abu Dhabi and Tunis.
This event takes places as part of the Global Spectrum Series – the world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy conferences.
Taking place in Tunis, Tunisia and online in June 2022, we were joined by more than 430 delegates in-person and virtually. Find more information and catch up on the highlights at the links below.
This event took place as part of the Global Spectrum Series, for further information on speaking, sponsorship or visibility opportunities, and to discuss how you can maximize the value of involvement, please contact Dan Craft on email@example.com or on +44 (0) 2920 783 020.
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