SAMENA Council Identifies Two-Pronged Challenge of Expediting 5G Development and Connecting the Still Un-connected; Shares Recommendations to Tackle Broadband Financing and Funding Gaps at the 12th Global MBBF in Dubai

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Dubai: Supporting Huawei’s 12th Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF 2021) as the region’s premier industry body and presenting the case for Telecom Operators to be better incentivized on future infrastructure investments, SAMENA Telecommunications Council, represented by Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member, highlighted that 5G will be a widespread reality only if financial resources are dedicated to its development along with necessary policy and regulatory enablement steps. “This is at a time when we also require unlocking access to capital for ensuring universal broadband access for all, including the still un-connected populations in the region. So, the challenge is double: developing 5G and connecting the still-unconnected”, BA stated.

To tackle the financial resource gaps for building advanced digital infrastructure, including 5G networks, which can empower the Middle East, or any region for that matter, massive public-private efforts are required. However, to make that happen, transformation is required on at least two fronts: one, on reality-based policy-making and evidence-based regulatory approaches, and, two, on unity among industry stakeholders to tackle the challenge of building new broadband infrastructure.

In this regard, BA highlighted the Broadband Commission’s contributions toward developing broadband, including through a set of four key strategic recommendations, which have recently come out from the work of the Commission’s Working Group on 21st Century Financing & Funding Model. The recommendations were released during the Commission’s Annual Fall Meeting held last month, and capture the essence of how ICT stakeholders need to move forward in closing connectivity gaps and developing future broadband infrastructure. The four strategic recommendations set forward the principles of (1) broadening the base of contributors, (2) earmarking proceeds from ICT sector participants, (3) reforming universal service and access funds and, (4) the creation of an international fund among necessary requirements for achieving the UN 2030 SDGs.

During MBBF 2021, SAMENA Council voiced the need to expand the scale of beneficial utilization of 5G cross all sectors of all regional economies, while being both inclusive and thinking “green 5G”. At the policy-level, this merits harmonizing policy and regulatory efforts in collaboration with Telecom Operators and Technology Providers, like Huawei. In order to address impediments to 5G adoption, to bring benefits of 5G, and thus to empower a better Middle East, SAMENA Council also elaborated on the necessity of being perfectly aligned and orienting stakeholder focus to sustainability and to executing better forms of collaboration.

MBBF 2021 is being held at JAFZA One Convention Centre in Dubai, and offers an opportunity for the mobile and adjacent vertical ecosystems to reconnect, rebuild, and reimagine a fully connected, intelligent world. It is a hybrid event that many participants are joining in person.