Larger MBB spectrum is crucial for Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic development: GSMA

Telecom Lead Middle East: Greater allocation of spectrum
for mobile broadband is vital for the economic and social development of the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), according to GSMA.


If the Saudi government were to release internationally
harmonised spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, the Kingdom would stand to
benefit substantially.


The study says that the government will get total GDP
gain of SAR358 billion (US$95.5 billion) in net present value terms over the
period 2013 to 2025 if the government release spectrum.


Furthermore, the spectrum release will create direct and
indirect 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 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.


GSMA said that international spectrum harmonisation is
vital 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 order to achieve these benefits for society, the study
suggests 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.


The report also found that any delay in the release of
this harmonised spectrum beyond 2013 would adversely impact 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.


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