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Wed 15 Jun 2016 01:43 PM

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High-speed 5G internet planned for UAE flights

Telecoms regulator discusses plans for in-flight 5th-generation network access at lower costs

High-speed 5G internet planned for UAE flights
Image for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)

High-speed 5G internet could soon be accessible to UAE airline passengers during flights.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is reportedly discussing plans to allocate new bandwidth frequencies compatible with 5th generation (5G) networks at lower costs.

The discussions were revealed during a seminar organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, reported Emirates 24/7.

The authority, which is to head the Preparatory Meeting for World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in 2019, discussed the development of a global maritime distress system and the use of space telecommunications, according to the report.

"The UAE’s participation in the seminar as official speaker is a significant step for the country as a trusted nation capable of leading such events and confirms our established partnership with the ITU in various initiatives for the sector,” said Khaled Al Awadhi, TRA spokesperson and Corporate Development Department’s Manager for International Organisations.

"The TRA has proposed various technical aspects that require close collaboration between the telecoms and space sectors, especially in terms of enhancing the quality of telecommunications services and providing customers with easy access and reach as our way of helping our customers achieve happiness. "The TRA has discussed the importance of using space services and providing new frequencies that can accommodate 5th generation mobile devices, which will require expanding broadband services or improving the efficiency of current capabilities. The TRA has discussed broadband application using satellites to serve the aviation sector which will allow airlines to easily provide high-speed internet connection in-flight. At present, there are some technical challenges to fully offer Internet connection while onboard flights because of lack of capabilities and high cost.

The federal agency was invited to help develop the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, an electronic identification technology to track ships navigating across oceans to ensure their safety from pirates and other emergencies, revealed Al Awadhi.

"Emirati engineers are very much capable of contributing significant innovation in the space sector as we have seen them launch many projects under the sponsorship of technology firms and service providers,” he said. “The TRA is continuously working to meet the requirements of those projects which may need to be tested and applied internationally. This is where we come in – to facilitate their implementation through coordination with ITU," Al Awadhi emphasised.

The TRA won the chairmanship of the WRC 2019 Preparatory Meeting during its participation at the Radio Communication Assemblies meetings held in October 2015.

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