SAMENA Telecommunications Council, with the patronage of TRA-Bahrain, held its Convergence to Bahrain conference last Thursday, February 6th, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama. Convergence to Bahrain 2020 brought together leading private-sector industry players across the Terrestrial, Satellite, and Technology domains and regionally renowned top executives to the conference.
Acting General Director of TRA Bahrain, Shaikh Nasser Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, in his opening keynote during the SAMENA Convergence to Bahrain 2020 conference, delineated the relevance of IoT and 5G technology and how it will impact the future. Shaikh Nasser stated, “The more we delve into exploring 5G and the myriad of possibilities it can create in combination with IoT, the more practical use-cases surface, justifying the need to incentivize 5G investments at both network and service levels. Autonomous vehicles, smart grids, autonomous farming; the applications are endless, and the world is exploring them as we speak, at a rapid pace." He added, "With such powerful network capacity and speed, we have a duty to unearth all possible beneficial uses of 5G and IoT and tap the immense potential, which can catalyze Bahrain's as well as the region's progress in the age of the digital economy."
The Convergence to Bahrain conference was attended by telecoms and ICT industry leaders from around the MENA region and consisted of a variety of panel discussions, focusing on regional 5G implementation, technology use-cases for the terrestrial and satellite industry in the 5G space, including IoT, financing models to aid 5G investments and network implementation, and open discussion steered toward understanding the future of 5G connectivity, collaboration, and regulation. The Conference was an effort for exchanging insights on key IoT trends and use-cases that are made possible with 5G network deployments and to draw focus on the role that operators can and should take in leading the way in 5G-enabled IoT applications and digital services in regional as well as specific country contexts, including market-specific monetization opportunities available to operators going beyond traditional data packages.
SAMENA Council's CEO, Mr. Bocar BA, extending his warm appreciation to the TRA Bahrain, stated that "SAMENA Council is grateful to the TRA for the hospitality and for making it possible to bring SAMENA Council's Members to Bahrain, to focus on an industry subject which has become among the most important ones, lately."
BA continued, "SAMENA Council's interest in conducting a 5G and IoT conference in Bahrain was driven by multiple factors, including the Kingdom's increasing readiness to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway; a business-friendly environment that encourages international businesses and top executives to visit the Kingdom; and, under the TRA's watch, a continued focus on sustainable investments in digital technology infrastructure. Bahrain ranks among the most mature ICT markets in the whole of the SA-ME-NA region and it is a comfortable destination for conducting business-centric industry meetings that require multiple stakeholders with varying profiles to convene together. We thank the TRA and the entire TRA team for their collaboration with SAMENA Council, and look forward to having Shaikh Nasser be an integral part of SAMENA Council's next major industry activity in April in Dubai."
Participation in Convergence to Bahrain conference was open to the Industry and top professionals from adjacent sectors, sharing interest and expertise in 5G and IoT. Major regional industry players, including Batelco Group, stc Group, Zain Group, Orange MEA, AT&T, Arabsat, Huawei, among others, took frontal role in the conference. Leading Bahraini private-sector and public-sector companies also participated in the Convergence conference.
About SAMENA Telecommunications Council
SAMENA Telecommunications Council is South Asia - Middle East - North Africa (SAMENA) region’s premier industry association of telecom operators and service providers. SAMENA Council voices network operators’ issues and needs to regulators, policymakers, and international institutions. The most renowned regional telecom operators, including stc Group, Batelco, Etisalat, Mobily, stc Kuwait, Orange - MEA, Zain Group, Arabsat, Sudatel and Omantel among other leading operators and technology companies, are a part of the Council’s membership. SAMENA Council is a sector development partner to the private and the public sectors, and empowers stakeholders to communicate together and addressing the most pressing industry issues, in order to help create a sustainable business environment for the industry, and to accelerate digital development in regional economies.
As an international non-profit organization, SAMENA Council is contributing to the understanding of cross-stakeholder priorities within the public and the private sectors. The Council has created a unique regional position as the regulatory reach and operator advocacy organization, promoting institution-level engagements with leading private and public-sector organizations.
SAMENA Council was founded in 2006. In February 2020 in Bahrain, Saudi Telecom Company, represented by Eng. Nasser Bin Sulaiman Al Nasser as its Group CEO, was re-elected to chair the Board of Directors of SAMENA Council and Batelco was again elected to vice-chair the Board of Directors under the leadership of Batelco International Investments CEO Mr. Ihab Hinnawi.
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