A high-profile delegation from Oman, Dr Hamed bin Salim al Rawahi, executive president of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), travelled to UK with the aim of leading the way towards the implementation of 5G in the Sultanate.
The team of officials included Ooredoo CEO, Ian Dench, Omantel VP of Operations Eng Said Abdullah al Ajmi, senior representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC), Oman Broadband Company, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Suhar Municipality, Muscat Municipality and Dhofar Municipality.
Put together in conjunction with the British Embassy, this unique opportunity has laid the foundation for the development of Oman’s 5G roadmap by allowing the delegation to gain on-the-ground expertise as well as forge key contacts with UK policymakers, regulators and investors.
Ian Dench, Ooredoo CEO said, “We are very excited about bringing our 5G Supernet to Oman. Having just obtained our 5G spectrum, we are already exploring the implementation of operational trials, including urban testing. And in just the last few days, Ooredoo Group successfully trialled the first International 5G call in the Arab World. This collaborative trip allowed us
to gain expertise on 5G trails experiences, from industry leaders who have already been through the process.”
Dr. Saoud al Shoaili, Director General of Communications and Postal Services at the Ministry of Transport and Communications commented, “This tour paved the way for the implementation of 5G in Oman. By working together with key entities from Oman, as well as other global organisations we will make sure that we are able to develop the environment for innovative and state-of-the-art technology, which will support the communications needs of the future.”
Eng Yousef al Balushi, vice president for spectrum affairs, TRA, “We understand the value of developing the industry through a market-driven environment and with 5G expected to hit the market in the near future, we are working together with industry leaders both in Oman and abroad to ensure we are ready. This tour was a fantastic opportunity for us to gain some insight, share knowledge and ultimately create a better way to keep everyone connected.”
Eng Said Abdullah Al Ajmi, vice president of Operations Unit at Omantel said “Adoption of 5G technology forms the cornerstone in the Omantel technology roadmap. We conducted several successful trials and live 5G tests throughout the past two years while preparing Omantel transmission and access networks for the anticipated commercial launch of 5G later this year. This visit provided us with a valuable opportunity to learn more about global 5G experiences and network with relevant stakeholders in the UK”.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Oman, Hamish Cowell at the British Embassy added “I am delighted that the trade team at the British Embassy was able to help set up this important visit to share lessons on 5G policies, regulation and technologies. This next generation of telecoms has the potential to revolutionise so many areas of our lives. I hope to see close ongoing collaboration between Oman and the UK to develop the opportunities for economic development and enhanced public services that 5G can bring.”
The programme was carefully planned to cover four key function areas: regulatory, government, implementation and investment. The delegation met with Ofcom, the UK’s regulator for the communications services, to gain an insight into how it is managing the introduction of 5G from a regulatory perspective. The party also visited several key government representatives in charge of issuing licenses for the installation of telecoms towers and antennas to hear about their experience in getting ready for the introduction of the new technology.
The group also went to a number of 5G trial sites to see how they are being coordinated and conducted at a grassroots level. This included a trip to the 5G Innovation Centre in Surrey to explore whether a similar initiative could be launched in Oman. Representatives from the party also met with various UK vendors involved with 5G related activities to explore future collaboration and partnership opportunities.