SAMENA Telecommunications Council participated at the ‘ITU Regional Forum on Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting Services in the Arab Region’ – being held in Dubai, UAE, from May 17 to 20, 2014 in coordination with UAE TRA.
George Salama, Senior Manager, Public Policy, represented SAMENA Telecommunications Council at the Forum where he made a presentation on the ‘Role and Importance of 700/800MHz Digital Dividend band for Mobile Broadband Services’. The presentation focused on topics such as mobile broadband socio-economic impact, current status of mobile data usage versus terrestrial TV, importance of spectrum harmonisation, and measures to ensure strategic coordination with broadcasters.
“As the demand for data continues to grow, it becomes vital to explore new potential spectrum bands for telecom services. One of the main outcomes of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC 2012) was the allocation of 700MHz band for mobile services, which is currently used by TV terrestrial broadcasters. In the SAMENA region, the percentage of terrestrial broadcaster users is minimal due to the emergence of satellite and IPTV. Regional harmonisation is essential in ensuring the optimal and efficient utilisation of such bands. To shun fragmentation, spectrum bands plan needs to be designed in a harmonised way across different regions. This will also have a positive impact on network upgrade costs and handset prices,” said George Salama.
“SAMENA Telecommunications Council is encouraging telecom regulatory authorities to have flexible spectrum allocation strategies for telecom operators. We believe that the available spectrum resulting from the digital switch over (800-700MHz) is of great value for telecom services as it provides wide coverage with large number of subscribers. A harmonized band plan is a must for efficient utilisation and to draw maximum benefits out of the digital dividend,” he added.
The Forum which was held at Gloria Hotel – Dubai, brought to the forefront constructive insights from topics such as transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting and the need for regional coordination and cooperation in this sector. Challenges related to digital transition in the Arab region, including the cost of transition, the interoperability and digital dividend, were other topics discussed at the Forum. Technical standards, frequency planning and coordination and spectrum sharing issues were also addressed at the forum.