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The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has officially concluded the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23), hosted by the UAE at the Dubai World Trade Center, which took place from November 20 to December 15, 2023.

The conference played a crucial role in reviewing and updating the Radio Regulations and the international treaty governing the utilization of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. With over 4,900 government officials from 193 countries and the participation of 900 international organizations, universities, and companies worldwide, WRC-23 marked a truly global collaboration.

H.E. Eng. Mohammed Al Ramsi, TDRA Deputy Director General and Chairman of WRC-23 and Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General

The conference lasted for four weeks, marked by intense discussions among various groups and countries aimed at reaching a global consensus on enhancing the utilization of the radio frequency spectrum. The focus was on meeting the growing demands for wireless communication services, including 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), while addressing coordination challenges and ensuring compatibility with satellite systems to prevent interference and ensure effective operation.

The deliberations also encompassed the evaluation and accommodation of emerging technologies and services reliant on radio communications, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and space exploration. Additionally, efforts were directed towards modernizing the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and fostering international cooperation and synergy between countries, ITU members, industry stakeholders, and other relevant organizations. The overarching goal was to achieve consensus on spectrum allocation and regulation.

Related: ITU’s WRC-23: Enabling Connected Communities via Land, Sea, Air and Space

Commenting on the successful conclusion of the conference, H.E. Talal Humaid Belhoul, Chairman of TDRA Board of Directors, said, “This year's conference underscored the strong collaboration among nations, emphasizing the pivotal role of international cooperation in shaping the future of the telecommunications sector. It highlighted that teamwork and a shared vision are indispensable for navigating the complexities of global digital governance. All the decisions and agreements reached during the conclusion of the WRC-23 will pave the way for equitable access to digital technologies, bridging divides, and opening new opportunities for all.”

Belhoul added, “The UAE, represented by TDRA, has played a crucial role in guiding the discussions of this global forum, fostering the consensuses achieved. We are committed to a futuristic vision that recognizes the digital telecommunications sector as the foundation of global progress. Our vision also entails adopting innovative approaches to spectrum management, acknowledging that the telecom sector transcends borders, and technology serves as humanity's bridge to prosperity.”

H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, TDRA Director General

In turn, commenting on the conclusion of the conference, H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, TDRA Director General, said, “Hosting the WRC-23 in the UAE reflects its position as a hub for significant global events, serving as key decision-making centers for issues critical to the future of humanity. This includes radio communications and frequency spectrum policies that influence numerous technological trends and strategies related to digital transformation, particularly in light of the ongoing technological breakthroughs. The UAE has earned this distinguished status through the commitment of its wise leadership to actively engage with global issues and maintain a strong presence in the international arena. The UAE’s focus on the telecom sector, evident from the early emphasis on infrastructure to its evolution into electronic and then digital governance, has played a key role in shaping its current achievements, including space exploration, digital government, and more.”

H.E. Eng. Mohammed Al Ramsi, TDRA Deputy Director General and Chairman of WRC-23, said, “The conference has set the groundwork for a new chapter in the distinguished relationship between the UAE and the ITU, marking another success story in the UAE's global endeavors, reflecting its global mission and significant contributions to advancing international cooperation across various fields, particularly in the radiocommunications sector, which serves as the backbone of smart cities and is an essential component for the success of Internet of Things technologies. Throughout four weeks of consultation, dialogue, and negotiations, we engaged in discussions touching on points of universal concern. We aimed to provide a glimpse into a world characterized by harmony and dialogue, building bridges to reach understandings that benefit all humanity. "

Al Ramsi also praised the results that emerged from the conference, and the agreements that were reached on a global scale, emphasizing that they will usher in a new era in the process of human development. He said, “We have emerged from this conference with significant outcomes that will contribute to the development of numerous radio services, serving the interests of countries, societies, and humanity as a whole. Today, countries have the opportunity to utilize the identified IMT bands to develop systems that enhance the digital lifestyle. Additionally, the facilitation of frequency bands for ground stations on aircraft and ships aims to improve communication services for travelers and workers in the aviation and maritime sector.

The ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23), is held every four years and brings together government officials, telecommunications regulatory bodies, as well as representatives of users and major suppliers of radiocommunication services.

It's worth noting that the UAE stands as the sole country to have hosted and chaired all major conferences and events of the ITU. It is the only country that has chaired this conference twice, in 2012 and 2023. This accomplishment is a testament to the UAE's global position in the telecommunications sector, its trusted role in regional and global coordination, its relentless efforts to advance telecommunications through collaboration with diverse partners, and its achievements in sustainable development, the adoption of modern technologies, and the enhancement of telecom infrastructure.

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