GSMA sets out 5G roadmap for Middle East and North Africa

A new report by the GSMA has found that the MENA region, which includes the Middle East and North Africa, has some of the fastest 5G services in the world

The GSMA has today published an analysis showing how robust 5G growth in the Middle East and North Africa has followed ambitious 5G spectrum assignments. As governments worldwide try to meet industry targets of 2GHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G, the GSMA report, titled 'Roadmaps for awarding 5G spectrum in the MENA region’ details how the strong development of 5G in the Gulf has delivered some of the fastest 5G services in the world.

The research also provides a guide for 5G development in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, outlining the steps their governments and regulators should take to enable the most efficient and effective availability of spectrum.

Jawad Jalal Abbassi, Head of the MENA region at the GSMA, said: "GCC countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have become 5G pioneers, deploying some of the world's first 5G networks. And countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey have started to identify suitable 5G spectrum to launch services during 2023. 

“This report will help governments and regulators in these, and other countries across the Middle East and North Africa enable 5G in the most efficient way possible,” he added. 

In a roadmap focused on Tunisia, the report shares a forecast of a significant increase in 4G connections to 2025 with the expectation that 5G will be deployed in 2023. However, to meet that target, it will be essential to award the spectrum in the first half of 2022.

5G Roadmaps for Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Turkey

The study also notes that operators in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey have been undertaking testing and trials of 5G. In Lebanon, at least one operator has been planning their 5G network. In Egypt, the authorities are developing the legal framework for awarding the 5G spectrum. Jordan's authorities are developing plans for 5G as well as identifying frequency bands.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in some of these countries for introducing 5G, the GSMA forecasts that all these countries will have commercial 5G services between 2022 and 2024.

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