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UAE hosts ITU’s first 5G mobile task group meeting in the Middle East

Key experts, regulators and policymakers discuss technical aspects of 5G mobile broadband networks (IMT-2020)


Geneva, 28 September 2017

​The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates, with the support of UAE-based satellite operator Yahsat, has just hosted in Abu Dhabi, 200 delegates from 35 countries to discuss the future of the 5th generation (5G) mobile networks under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

Information and communication technology (ICT) regulators, policymakers, and industry and academic experts from across the world met in Abu Dhabi from 19 to 28 September under the auspices of ITU-R Task Group 5/1, to discuss the technical aspects related to frequency bands that could be used for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) systems enabling and shaping the next generation (5G) of mobile broadband. 

5G technology aims to provide much higher capacity than current 4G systems, increasing the number of broadband users, and providing service at lightning speeds. Set to become reality by 2020, with early trials and use cases already in the works, 5G will be needed to power the data-heavy Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem that will fuel tomorrow's digital economy.

"This meeting marks an important step shaping the next generation (5G) of mobile broadband through important technical contributions to the draft Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) report under WRC-19 Agenda item 1.13," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, referring to the next quadrennial World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in 2019. "ITU and its partners, sharing a common community of interest, have recognized the relationship between IMT — International Mobile Telecommunication systems — and 5G and are working towards realizing the future vision of mobile broadband communications for worldwide connectivity and interoperability, improved performance, quality, affordability and timeliness of service and overall system economy in radiocommunications."

During the opening ceremony, Cindy-Lee Cook, Chairman of ITU-R Task Group 5/1, said: "The explosive growth of wireless communications, particularly to provide broadband services, demonstrates the need for global solutions to address the need for additional radio spectrum allocations and harmonized standards to improve interoperability. Cooperation and understanding between all stakeholders is vital when decisions can have huge political, social and financial consequences. We are delighted to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates, a country that is committed to building a robust and forward-looking digital society, as we continue the technical discussions towards defining the future of the 5th generation of wireless systems." 

In his opening remarks, H. E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the TRA, highlighted: "We are delighted to host the global ICT community. The UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda has put the digital economy at the core of our growth strategy. Transitioning to a knowledge-based economy, promoting innovation and research and development, strengthening the regulatory framework, and encouraging high value-adding sectors such as the ICT sector is part of our roadmap for the future. The discussions taking place this week are paramount since they will determine the future of 5G systems and how people will communicate tomorrow. By hosting the ICT international community in Abu Dhabi, the UAE is proving, once again, that we are a leading player in shaping the smart digital transformation of tomorrow." 

"We believe that communications is a fundamental right and should be available to everyone across the globe. As an Emirati organically grown company, we are proud to be part of the committee to host the ITU delegation for the first time in the Middle East and to put the UAE at the forefront of the global ICT sector. We firmly believe in the potential of working collaboratively with all partners and to provide solutions that drive a positive impact and bring concrete benefits to people around the world," added Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat. 

"We expect, through strategic collaboration and meetings like the ones taking place in Abu Dhabi, that the industry will be able to expand its connectivity solutions to more and more people, catering for their current and future needs," added Masood.

"ITU-R Task Group 5/1 is expected to conclude its work and put forward results by September 2018 for future mobile technologies foreseen for IMT 2020 as IMT (5G) continues to grow at unprecedented rates and supports connectivity, applications and services that were not envisioned even a few years ago," said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau.