Mobilk - The GSMA today announced that greater allocation of spectrum for Mobile Broadband is vital for the economic and social development the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). New findings from a report by Analysys Mason, commissioned by the GSMA, reveal that if the Saudi government were to release internationally harmonised spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, the Kingdom would stand to benefit substantially. Improvements enabled by the release of spectrum include:
•A total GDP gain of SAR358 billion1 (US$95.5 billion) in net present value terms over the period 2013 to 2025;
•Direct and indirect creation of jobs for 424,000 people by 2020; and
•Broadband coverage to KSA’s large rural areas, providing education and information benefits to the poorer areas of the Kingdom.
The report also found that any delay in the release of this harmonised spectrum beyond 2013 would have a significant impact on these benefits. For example, a five-year delay in the release of harmonised spectrum would reduce the total GDP gain over 2013 – 2025 to just SAR96 billion (US$26 billion) and reduce the number of jobs created to 75,000.
“The current spectrum allocation for LTE in KSA, in the 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands, follows a completely non-harmonised arrangement, and as a result, will not deliver the benefits made possible by allocating harmonised spectrum in the 800 MHz and the 2.6 GHz bands,” said Peter Lyons, Director of Spectrum Policy, Africa and Middle East, GSMA. “The continuation of the current arrangement will have a detrimental impact on coverage across rural areas, in-building penetration and high-capacity connectivity for KSA’s largest cities.”
International spectrum harmonisation is critical in ensuring that new devices, such as tablets, smartphones and ultrabooks, will be able to work in KSA. Failure to harmonise spectrum with the international community will result in the Kingdom being forced to use higher-cost and poorly-performing devices for LTE. In addition, people from neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would not be able to roam with their devices in the Kingdom.
In order to achieve these benefits for society, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should release internationally harmonised band plans of 140 MHz of spectrum at 2.6 GHz and at least 60 MHz of digital dividend spectrum at 800 MHz.
“As a key market in the region, we encourage the Saudi government to make the necessary spectrum available to support the growth of LTE services,” Lyons continued. “The benefits of widespread next-generation Mobile Broadband connectivity can help the Kingdom diversify its strengths and transition, over time, to a knowledge-based economy. This will create a solid foundation for continued growth, prosperity and security.”
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