Qatar’s regulator detailed plans to allocate spectrum in proposed 5G frequency bands for operator tests in a bid to enable commercial launches in late 2018 or early 2019.
The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) will assign the country’s only two mobile operators, Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo, bandwidth in the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz bands for pilots using pre-standard 5G technology. Its move follows a year-long consultation with service providers, international standards bodies and other stakeholders into the requirements for next generation networks.
In a statement, CRA president Mohammed Ali Al-Mannai said the development of 5G would benefit consumers, but also enhance Qatar’s telecommunications sector.
“We are delighted that CRA is one of the first regulatory bodies regionally and internationally to announce the readiness of 5G frequency plans,” he added: “This announcement will see a great work by Qatar’s telecom service providers to start the formal testing of pre-standard networks for 5G technology this year, and to deploy standard commercial networks late 2018 and early 2019.”
CRA added the new technology would support connection speeds of 1Gb/s and serve the anticipated increase in demand for M2M and IoT communications in the country.
Qatar’s statement comes as regulators around the world act to accelerate 5G deployments.
Earlier in January, French regulator Arcep said it was set to grant operators temporary licences for testing 5G, while other countries are preparing to auction spectrum earmarked for 5G services.