Reallocation of Frequency Spectrum Moves the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Top 10 Countries in Internet Speed

Riyadh, The efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in reallocating the frequency spectrum and stimulating investments in the radio infrastructure with a total of SAR 40 billion over the past three years have contributed to classifying the Kingdom of Sa...

Riyadh, The efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in reallocating the frequency spectrum and stimulating investments in the radio infrastructure with a total of SAR 40 billion over the past three years have contributed to classifying the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of the Internet speed on mobile networks and second among G20 countries in providing frequency spectrum to offer mobile telecommunication services.

Years ago, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranked late among countries in terms of Internet speed and was also late internationally in the level of performance quality in this vital and essential service in the present time, the last of these years was 2017 when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranked 105th globally with a rate that does not exceed 7 megabits per second, which does not accord with the regional and international value and roles of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Since then, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sought to employ all its potential to change the situation, especially with the increasing pivotal roles of the Internet and its attachment to the modern daily life of all societies, forming the first precursors of a new universal revolution that was later termed the fourth industrial revolution.

To keep pace with this universal movement, His Royal Highness Crown Prince launched the Saudi Vision 2030, from which several visions and initiatives have emanated with the aim of supporting the digital transformation process at all levels, preparing a strong and distinguished digital infrastructure that helps empowering this process, and supporting the public and private sectors to match their operational systems with the digital transformation plans.

In conjunction with these efforts, the Communications and Information Technology Commission has launched an initiative to reallocate the frequency spectrum, which is one of the limited natural resources owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is used in industries of modern radio technologies, mainly in radio communications, in addition to surveillance, control, sensors and radio systems, among others.

To achieve this goal, the Commission coordinated with public and private authorities, with the support of the National Transformation Program, to provide more than 800 megahertz of frequency spectrum of outdated usages and reallocate them to be available for commercial use by mobile communication service providers to increase capacities of radio networks and improve the quality of services.

The Commission, during the period between 2017 and 2019, held four public auctions for frequency spectrum, that resulted in increasing the frequencies allocated for mobile communication networks from 260 megahertz to 1,110 megahertz, which resulted in increasing the average of Internet download speed over mobile networks to more than tenfold (from 7 megabits per second in mid-2017 to more than 97 megabits per second by the end of 2020), where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become among the top 10 countries in terms of Internet speed on mobile networks and second among G20 countries in terms of providing frequency spectrum to offer mobile communication services.

Reallocating frequency spectrum for mobile services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed to stimulating investments in the radio infrastructure by up to SAR 40 billion over the past three years, through which non-oil revenues of public auctions that the Commission has held SAR 10 billion.

Due to the importance of this limited resource and efforts to increase its national utilization, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is planning to publish a roadmap for an innovative and commercial use of the frequency spectrum (2021-2023). This roadmap includes providing more than 22 gigahertz for innovative and smart radio usages for the frequency spectrum with the aim of supporting the adoption of 5G technologies of mobile communication and 6G of Wi-Fi, high-speed wireless networks, broadband satellite systems, the Internet of Things and the artificial intelligence and what it offers of smart services and options that can be utilized in applications for houses, smart gauges, connected vehicles and fleet management (vehicles and robots) among other applications. It also aims to provide multiple frequency ranges for the purpose of experimenting and developing emerging and advanced radio systems and technologies, such as high-altitude platforms and smart wireless transport systems, as well as providing sufficient frequency ranges to enhance the digital radio transmission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through this initiative that aims at providing and allocating this unprecedented volume of frequencies for innovative and commercial usages, seeks to create a regional and international trend to allow multiple radio technologies that use limited frequency ranges and enable sharing its usage, which allows the best use of this limited resource in light of the immense multiplication in the number of applications, systems and various radio usages and the huge acceleration in developing them until their use becomes a necessity in all fields of the daily life.

This progressive trend, adopted by the Commission in administrating this critical resource, enables speeding up procedures to embrace several radio technologies for various purposes and usages in various sectors and industries in a way that contributes to establishing a developed digital infrastructure necessary to move the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards the future digital community in accordance with the Saudi Vision 2030.

This initiative will include a plan to provide several frequency ranges through public auctions in 2021 and 2022, where the Commission, through these auctions, will provide several frequency ranges with high economic value that will improve the level of services offered to the public and put the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the top of countries that allocate 5G frequency spectrum

Source: Saudi Press Agency