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Home | Africa & The Middle East | TRA (UAE), H.E. Mohamed Al Ghanim
 
TRA ensures UAE's competitive environment for growth

H.E. Mohamed Al GhanimH.E. Mohamed Al Ghanim, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE Board Member & Director General talks to Intercoms about the organization's regulatory role

Q: How are you supporting competition?
A: Fixed line subscribers are now able to choose one of the two UAE telecom operators for calls from their homes and offices to national and international numbers Carrier Selection Service.

Since its inception at the end of 2004, the TRA has endeavored to promote competition in the UAE telecommunication market and in order to accomplish this goal the TRA has worked diligently to ensure that its regulatory framework promotes fair competition and consumer choice.

The UAE has become the third country in the Arab World to have competition in the fixed line market, after less than three years of its inception, and after less than one year from the introduction of competition in the UAE Telecom Sector. Competition in the Telecommunications Sector benefits business and residential consumers in the form of increased quality of service, introduction of innovative services and healthy price competition."

The TRA will continue to act in a proactive manner to ensure that the UAE maintains its place at the forefront of competition in the Telecommunications Sector.

Q: How are you supporting the customer in terms of security concerns?
A: The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE (TRA), has recently signed a turnkey contract with Symantec" to setup the UAE Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT).

The aeCERT constitutes a cyber security coordination center in the UAE. This initiative will facilitate the detection, prevention and response to the broader set of cyber security incidents on the Internet this it will enhance information security awareness across the UAE and will build national expertise in information security, incident management and computer forensics. The aeCERT will also provide a central trusted point of contact for cyber security incident reporting in the UAE and will establish a national center to disseminate information about threats, vulnerabilities and cyber security incidents. This will foster the establishment of and provide assistance to sectorbased Computer Security Incidents Research Teams (CSIRTs), will coordinate with domestic and international CSIRTs and related organizations, and will succeed to present a proactive and structured approach to deter the future coming cyber security incidents."

Q: What other internet focused support are you providing?
A: The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), within its scheduled strategy, is launching the website of the .ae Domain Administration (.aeDA) that will become the definitive and authoritative resource for all facets of the Domain Name Industry in the UAE.

The TRA has endorsed the .aeDA to manage the .ae domain name on behalf of all domain name owners and internet users, both in the country and worldwide."

Domain Name retailers or Registrars and end users will have access to all relevant Industry information in an easy-to-read and simple-tounderstand format. The aim of the website is to promote the Domain Name System framework, highlight the different members, and promote the use and utility of the .ae domain name.

The website has been released ahead of the launch of the new 'World's Best Practice' Registry System that has been developed specifically and exclusively for the .ae Domain Name. The launch of the Registry will be towards the end of the year when the incumbent, Etisalat/ UAEnic with hand over the technical and administrative management of the .ae domain to the .aeDA.

Q: What is the TRA going to enable the Regulatory Framework for Next Generation Networks?
A: The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) out of its commitment towards the development of the telecom sector in the UAE, is studying the requirements needed for effective regulation of the Next Generation Network (NGN).

In the past five years, the telecommunications technology changed dramatically. Such change happened to the overall network architecture, offered services, protocols and standards, and the regulation framework. Almost all operators around the world have started the deployment of the NGN, which is a broadband network that will carry voice and data over Internet Protocol (IP). NGN will be the base and framework for future technologies and services.

With the introduction of NGN, the role of the TRA will be more effective. The TRA believes that a new set of regulation framework, other than the existing regulations, need to be developed to facilitate and simplify the roll out of NGN. The TRA will ensure that there is clarity as to the regulation policy requirement necessary to support effective competition and ensure consumer protection.

NGN will facilitate the migration towards Network Convergence in which one common network shall be used to provide different services through different access technologies, whether wired or wireless. As part of its study, however, the TRA will cooperate with different regulators to exchange international experience with regard to NGN regulation and will consult with existing operators in the UAE in order to enable the country to be recognized as a world class modern telecommunication center for consumers and business.

There are several challenges that need to be addressed properly by the TRA, such as NGN licensing and regulatory framework, interconnection and interoperability over IP, technical standards, content regulation, consumer security, quality of service, and numbering.

Q: What is the TRA doing to monitor Mobile Network Coverage and Quality?
A: The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE (TRA) has recently concluded the first evaluation of the coverage and quality of Mobile Networks in the UAE. The first phase covered Etisalat's network, where both 2G and 3G mobile networks have been assessed for coverage and quality measures. The evaluation process covered all the emirates of the UAE, where more than 7000 Km were covered and more than 6000 calls were made.

The assessment aimed at simulating the mobile user experience of Etisalat Mobile Network. Thus, the time, route and type of communication was aligned to the expected behavior of the users. The project preparation stage started in April, while testing and data collection took place during May and June. The TRA has evaluated the results of the study, where many issues have been identified. The TRA is in consultation stage with Etisalat to work together for possible enhancements of the user experience.

However, the TRA would like to stress that maintaining a healthy mobile network is a challenge, operators need to continuously adapt to changes in their cellular network that may affect its performance by means of optimization and network monitoring. Many factors affect the cellular network such as the increase in the number of users, the introduction of different services and the establishment of new sites in the network. The cellular network works like a mesh where one site can affect a larger area containing several sites.

This stage of the mobile network evaluation that has covered Etisalat Mobile Network will be followed very soon by an evaluation of Du's Mobile Network coverage and quality. The TRA, however, will continue to conduct this evaluation process on both networks regularly and periodically.

Q: How has the TRA activated Mobile Networks Sites Sharing?
A: Out of its commitment to ensure the best services for the mobile networks in the UAE, the TRA has established a specialized committee to activate the process of sharing the mobile networks sites, encompassing both operators; etisalat and du.

This joint committee has reached an agreement on the sites sharing mechanism, and on the practice rules among the operators.

The TRA chairs the committee's periodical meetings that audit the sharing process and discuss the technical obstacles facing both operators' teams. One of the committee's achievements is the agreement on a time table on the deployment area for these joint stations, which have actually been operational since the beginning of this year, in different areas in the UAE emirates.

The total number of mobile sites shared between the two operators and are on air has reached more than 30 sites as of the 31st of July, where more than 200 sites are under study for sharing. The TRA is supervising the continuous discussions between etisalat and du regarding improving the site sharing process. We are, however, expecting the number of shared sites to triple before the end of this year.

This step is within the framework of the TRA to develop the Telecommunications Sector in the UAE to become a pioneer regionally and internationally, and to provide the best possible means to facilitate the exploitation of the telecom networks for both, the operators and the users. Thus, in the final analysis, to preserve the prosperity of the telecom sector, and to contribute in facing the continuous challenges of advanced technology.

Q: The TRA Hosted the ITU Radio- Communication Seminar for the Arab Region in April, hosting 22 Arab countries. What did it aim to do?
A: The main objective of this seminar was to enable participants to familiarize themselves with the regulatory procedures for terrestrial and space services and with the associated tools for notification of the frequency assignments, including the related software. The lectures and discussions were held in English, French and Arabic with instant translation.

The Seminar discussed a number of issues, such as an overview of the regulatory procedures applicable to terrestrial services; notice forms and notification formats for terrestrial services; the role of the ITU with emphasis on the Radiocommunication Bureau; a review of regional activities; the National Spectrum Management; Orbit/Spectrum Allocation Procedures - Registration Mechanism/ Cost Recovery; coordination of satellite networks; general introduction on different software used for Space and terrestrial coordination and notification, including the broadcasting terrestrial.

The Seminar also witnessed an incorporated workshop entitled: "Space and Terrestrial," which was conducted at the last two days of the Seminar. The Seminar was attended by the Director of the Radio-communication Bureau at the ITU, Mr. Fabio; where a team of experts and Heads of Departments of the terrestrial and satellite services at the ITU were present to manage both, the Seminar and the Workshop.

For more information visit:
UAE TRA website at www.tra.uae or email us on rasheed.joumblatt@tra.ae

 
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