In line with the vision of TRA to enhance the regional and global leadership of the United Arab Emirates in the field of communications and information technology, the country's regulatory authority has designated an additional 500 MHz radio spectrum of 6 GHz band (specifically 5925-6425 MHz) to Wi-Fi for indoor use at an EIRP of 250 mW under class authorization.
As a regional leader in ICT, the UAE's TRA is one of the world’s most forward-looking regulators. With this latest addition, the UAE has become the first country in the MENA region to release additional 500 MHz of radio spectrum frequency in the 6 GHz band to the total spectrum of approximately 11.5 GHz (in 2.4, 5, 5.8 & 60 GHz bands) already available for Wi-Fi. This will significantly boost the speed of indoor wireless networks in the UAE, helping to keep up with the increasing use of wireless services by individuals, companies and different business sectors for day-to-day activities, and to accommodate new applications which drive demand for faster speeds and greater reliability. Today, Wi-Fi is a critical investment that connects people to workplaces, businesses, education and healthcare.
Interestingly 99% of homes in the UAE have internet access as per ITU database published in June 2020, and Wi-Fi plays an essential role in providing connectivity between users' routers and the increasing number of wireless-enabled consumer electronics devices in their homes including TVs, smart appliances, games consoles, and portable/mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, remote controllers, 3D visors, laptops etc.
The latest (Wi-Fi) standard promises theoretical peak data speeds of 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second), as well as better management of spectrum in congested environments, faster latency, improved power efficiency and various other changes.
Commenting on this decision, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Head of the UAE Digital Government and TRA Director General, said, “The COVID-19 current situation has stressed the importance of having reliable Wi-Fi systems in our homes. This reliability on Wi-Fi networks has been driven by the increasing demand of internet use in remote-working, education and data-intensive activities such as multimedia streaming on multiple devices at the same time.”
H.E. Al Mansoori highlighted that the UAE always endeavors to strengthen the telecommunications infrastructure and the efficiency of its national resources. He added: “We look forward towards satisfying the UAE society and businesses’ increasing expectations of Wi-Fi networks. We will ensure optimal use of the spectrum while encouraging innovation and investment in Wi-Fi, and other wireless technologies”.
In its endeavour to contribute towards the “Digital UAE”, the TRA prepared a Spectrum Outlook for the period 2020–2025, which overlays the roadmap for making the available spectrum resources for different emerging wireless technologies. The decision to increase the radio spectrum is aligned with the 'Outlook' and as a result of engaging all stakeholders in the decision making through a public consultation process.