The telecoms regulator in the United Arab Emirates has allocated spectrum in both the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands for mobile broadband, making it the first in the EMEA region to do so.
The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is combining the 800 MHz band plan for Europe, Middle East and Africa with the lower portion of the Asia Pacific 700 MHz band.
It is the first country in ITU Region 1, which covers Europe, Middle East and Africa, to offer mobile broadband in both bands. The regulator pointed to the benefits for the UAE’s operators in enabling affordable network deployment.
“The UAE is predicting a rising demand for global harmonization of the APT 700 MHz band benefiting in the growing ecosystem of devices from Asia Pacific across the Middle East and Africa, through to Latin America,” added H.E. Majed Al Mesmar, deputy director general for the telecommunications sector.
Mobile operators in the UAE will use the lower duplex of the Asia Pacific 700 MHz band, also known as APT700, as “a base line”, with the possibility of also using an additional 2 x 10 MHz for greater efficiency and public protection and disaster relief applications. In addition, 5 MHz has also been considered for so-called direct mode operation to serve the same purpose.
The regulator’s decision was supported by the GSMA. Tom Phillips, the organisation’s chief government and regulatory affairs officer, said: “Combining the 800MHz band plan for Europe, Middle East and Africa with the lower portion of the Asia Pacific (APT) 700MHz band is a significant step forward.”
He said the benefits of spectrum harmonisation included economies of scale, near-global roaming and limiting interference in border regions.