Bahrain plans to auction 5G networks spectrum

Bahrain intends to award spectrum or radio frequency in the 700MHz, 1400Mhz, 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz and 3.8GHz bands via auction, the top official at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the TRA’s second Open Forum at The Wyndham Grand Manama Hotel in Bahrain Bay, general director Philip Marnick said, “The spectrum will enable the industry to provide services with greater capacity and wider coverage and to support new wireless technologies.

“We’re going to start the auction process this year as we think there will be demand and an auction is the best way of ensuring people get what they want and are ready to pay for it,” he added.

“We will go to the operators to understand what they need and then do the basics of designing the auctions.”

The official also said Bahrain is the first country in the GCC to offer prime mid-band spectrum for businesses to deploy local-area private 5G networks.

Spectrum in 3.8 to 4.2 GHz band will be made available to organisations or industries on a licensed basis, he added.

“Bahrain’s got 100 per cent 5G coverage but there’s more to be done for the industrial sector and by providing private 5G network spectrum, we enable some of the things like digitising the ports and other sectors of the economy,” Mr Marnick explained.

“If you have the sort of business that needs a private network in a particular area, we can give you spectrum there so you use your own 5G.”

According to experts, prime mid-band spectrum is a range of radio frequencies that is ideal for 5G networks. It offers a good balance of coverage and capacity, making it suitable for both urban and rural areas.

Prime mid-band spectrum is essential for the widespread deployment of 5G and the realisation of its full potential. It is the sweet spot between coverage and capacity, making it ideal for a wide range of applications.

Private 5G networks are meant for specific organisations or industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare, or transportation.

They offer a number of benefits over public 5G networks, including greater control, increased security and improved performance.

For example, private 5G networks can be used to connect and control machines in factories, which can improve efficiency and productivity; whereas in the healthcare sector, they can be used to connect medical devices and sensors, which can improve patient care and safety.

In the transportation sector, private 5G networks can be used to connect vehicles and infrastructure, which can improve traffic management and safety.

Additional spectrum would also support and encourage the development of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ services which have a wide range of uses, such as smart homes, smart cities, tracking, smart metering and connected cars.

The forum was organised by the regulator to discuss updates to its 2022-2023 work plan and the progress made to date.

In attendance were representatives from the telecommunications industry and consumer advocacy organisations.

Through the work plan, the TRA aims to create an environment that supports innovation, making Bahrain one of the world’s advanced telecommunications markets with a secure and resilient network, reliable broadband service for all, while ensuring consumers are empowered and protected.

Talking about the purpose of the forum, Mr Marnick said: “These forums bring together stakeholders to share their expertise and discuss the telecommunications industry’s most pressing issues and opportunities. The TRA remains committed to supporting and encouraging innovation, developing a vibrant and healthy digital ecosystem, and ensuring transparency in everything we do.”




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