Manama, Mar. 26(BNA): Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed has announced that preparations for the rollout of 5G networks in the Kingdom of Bahrain are complete and anticipates that Bahrain will be one of the first countries globally to provide commercial 5G services to consumers by June 2019, pending availability of consumer handsets.
He said that, having completed all the necessary regulatory work, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is scheduled to allocate licensing and spectrum by the first week of April. Mobile operators in the Kingdom have already begun rolling out the necessary network infrastructure. "This project comes as part of the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander, and First Deputy Prime Minister, of further promoting competitiveness within the Kingdom – in line with Bahrain Vision 2030.
"This project reflects the Kingdom’s drive for innovation, the use of the latest technologies, and the continuous support of all stakeholders including the TRA and the national Spectrum Strategy and Coordination Committee (SSCC), all of which serve to highlight the Kingdom’s continued role as a regional leader in telecommunications and ICT sector. The launch of 5G also reaffirms the Kingdom’s leading role in 5G networks and the implementation of cutting-edge technology and promoting innovation," said the Minister.
This announcement positions Bahrain as one of the world’s leading 5G-ready countries, increasing its appeal as a destination for companies trialling next-generation technologies such as autonomous vehicles and virtual/augmented reality goods, as the Kingdom continues to encourage investment in world-class telecommunications infrastructure and services. These products and services will also be ably supported by the National Broadband Network (NBN) which will offer ubiquitous high-speed fibre-based products to operators and consumers throughout the Kingdom.
Successful commercial trials for 5G technology in the Kingdom of Bahrain were held in June 2018 and all licensed operators are preparing to provide commercial 5G services which will be ready to go when consumer handsets become available.
The products and services will be in line with the 3GPP standards issued in 2018 and will predominantly utilise bandwidth in the C-Band spectrum (3GHz) and will allow Bahraini companies to tap into the global 5G services market, which is anticipated to grow from an estimated 60 billion USD in 2020 to an estimated 125 billion USD in 2025.
The Kingdom of Bahrain ranks first in global ICT indices, being ranked first in the Arab region in the ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI), and ranked 4th globally in the UN’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII) of the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) in 2018.
One major benefit of 5G technology is enabling higher volume of data transmission at higher speeds (lower latencies). This in turn enables the development and implementation of technologies such as autonomous driving vehicles, which can require up to 100Gb of data per second to operate. Research and development into other technologies such as AI open up a massive potential market for Bahrain. Furthermore, 5G can potentially support interactive technologies like virtual reality which need high bandwidth to send and receive large amounts of data with very low latency, helping enable the growth of some IoT applications and delivering improved video streaming and high-end gaming.
"Our leadership in 5G reflects Bahrain’s appetite for innovation and sends a signal to the world that we can be a test-bed for some of the most transformative technologies that will change the future. There were a lot of challenges along the way – ensuring spectrum availability as soon as possible was a big challenge, but overcoming these obstacles exemplifies the support and cooperation amongst Team Bahrain and demonstrates how Bahrain can move quickly, deliver enormous progress against an accelerated timeframe, and be a partner to technology leaders," said the minister.
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BNA 1714 GMT 2019/03/26