SAMENA Council’s Leaders’ Summit to focus Middle East’s digital economy


Staff Report

Dubai – SAMENA Telecommunications Council will hold its annual Leaders’ Summit on May 3, 2018 in Dubai under the patronage of UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA).
Hosted for the fifth consecutive year by Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, and co-sponsored by Ericsson Middle East, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), Alfa (managed by Orascom TMT), Sudatel, Numbase Group and Airspan. The one-day leaders-only event is the seminal summit for materialising private and government partnerships and collaboration within the ICT industry of the region. The Summit will congregate leaders and influencers from within the telecommunications industry across South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe and beyond.

“Our focus during Leaders’ Summit 2018 is on understanding requirements and multiple dimensions in building the region’s digital economy, and how such an economy would be made sustainable and, equally so, how best telecom operators can play a decisive role in shaping up regional, digitally-enabled socio-economics. We are thrilled to get so many confirmations from both Private and Public sector leaders, wanting to be an active part of this year’s leaders’ congregation in Dubai. This year, I not only anticipate witness successful and goal-setting discussions at the Summit but a much bigger representation of geographies from around the world,” stated Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Council.

“As ICT becomes a general-purpose technology that improves lives of consumers and increases efficiency of businesses, ICT infrastructure becomes a key to unlocking economic growth and 5G is the main driver of this transformation,” said Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East. “Huawei is ushering in the 5G era by laying the groundwork for new networks, developing 5G commercial devices, and nurturing an ecosystem of telco organizations, vendors, and consumers prepared to seize new opportunities. The arrival of 5G will support national plans and accelerate digital transformation, and this SAMENA leadership summit is a great occasion to gather ICT industry leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities on the road to 5G.”

Osman Sultan, CEO, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du) Said, “We are living in a fast-changing world. In our digital age, we are already living in the smart cities of tomorrow that will rely on a robust ICT infrastructure and 5G networks, where the internet of things and artificial intelligence are coming into the mainstream. As new business models emerge, it is up to the ICT leaders to harness the technologies of tomorrow and ensure their widespread availability for society at large,” said Osman Sultan. “The SAMENA Council Leaders’ Summit provides a key platform for industry executives to come together and discuss the solutions and opportunities arising from the challenges posed by our fast changing world, so that we can work together to pave the way for 5G in the region and grow our digital economy.”

On the sidelines of the SAMENA Telecom Leader’s Summit, Huawei will organise three sub-forums, with the first one being “5G is Now..”, focusing on the imminent arrival of 5G and its support to national transformation plans across the region, in addition to the big role 5G will play in the digital transformation journey. Huawei will also launch the latest edition of its annual Global Connectivity Index (GCI), a global study that benchmarks where a country stands within its journey to connectivity, and aims to deliver insightful research for governments looking to push forth a digital economy transformation. The 2018 edition of GCI will feature 80 countries, including several in the Middle East. Huawei’s third sub-forum will focus on All-Cloud Transformation in the 5G era.

Marwan Hayek, Chairman and CEO of Alfa, shared his thoughts by stating that “We are taking part in the SAMENA Leaders’ Summit after accomplishing the 1st 5G Trial in Lebanon in April and achieving a record speed of 25 Gigabits/sec, the highest throughput in Lebanon’s history. We believe that this breakthrough is part of our commitment to be leading on the technology side as well as investing and mobilizing all our human capital and network assets to convey the human side of telco in all our operations and contribute to the happiness of the people.” Hayek added, “This gathering is an excellent opportunity to align with all SAMENA partners on how to move the ICT Industry further and explore ways on how we can build a future of telecom where humanity is in our core business and where we strive to improve lives and support economies and national development through technology.”

Indranil Das, VP & Head of Digital Services, Ericsson Middle East & Africa said, “Digitalization will only continue to accelerate in the future resulting in a wide range of new market opportunities for telecom operators. To succeed in this new business environment, operators must be well integrated into the digital transformation journey. As a transformation partner, our mandate is to ensure the smooth transition from a telecom operator to a digital leader. At Ericsson, we believe that events such as the SAMENA Council’s Leaders’ Summit offer a pivotal platform for industry leaders to come together and solve tomorrow’s challenges today.”

The SAMENA Council’s Leaders’ Summit is an annual leadership event, encompassing private and government sector leaders’ gathering, various bi-lateral “closed-door” meetings, and panel discussions, held among stakeholders in a world-class setting. To be held under the theme “Building the Digital Economy of the Middle East”, Leaders’ Summit 2018 will build on past discussions, centered around enabling a true, regional digital economy. The Summit’s aim is to encourage industry leaders to consider an incentivized, stakeholder-inclusive business environment where digitization, fifth-generation technologies and regulatory frameworks, and new digital service platforms would define the rules of the game, and would determine how best the value of digital is realized.

“Undoubtedly, SAMENA Council can be described as a unique platform for sharing knowledge, know-how and expertise in the ICT sector. It is a distinguished means for providing solutions to prevailing telecom issues and is a forum of collaboration, advocacy and communication. I do believe that SAMENA Council is now a leading entity for the unification of industry messages and can help set clear objectives for all the members in the region. This annual gathering of Leaders’ Summit is a proof of success of what SAMENA Council is doing across the region. The organization of such conferences, seminars and workshops is so impactful, as they open windows to international spheres and let the voice of SAMENA Council be heard globally. I’m honored, this year, to be an elected member of SAMENA Board of Directors, which is a huge responsibility to be assumed by my Company to convey, with efficiency, the important messages of this Council”, stated Tarig Hamza Zainelabdin, CEO of Sudatel.

One of the most anticipated ICT thought leadership and change-makers’ events in the region, the Leaders’ Summit will further corroborate SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s role at the forefront of the campaign for building digital economies, unifying the telecom industry voice, helping optimize the collaboration between operators and regulators and ICT industry service providers towards making a positive impact in the region’s socio-economic development.

“We are very excited to introduce Dense Air, by utilizing Airspan’s comprehensive product portfolio of 4G and 5G small cells allows Dense Air to offer a completely new type of service to mobile operators. Our wholesale service offering will complement the investments carriers have made in their Macro RAN. Adding small cells that operate in dedicated licensed spectrum to Macro networks at cell edge either outdoors or indoors, we can dramatically improve the service experience to end users, increase speeds and network capacity. Importantly, Dense Air does not and will not offer retail mobile services and does not compete in any way with mobile service providers. The economics of both 4G and 5G small cell deployments can be dramatically improved when deployed using a neutral host solution, i.e. when a single network of small cells can host multiple operators. Our mission is to help MNOs and MVNOs improve their networks by densification without the need to spend CAPEX”, stated Paul Senior, Chief Strategy Officer – Airspan Networks.

Various regional leaders representing network operators, regulatory authorities, ICT service providers, global ICT leading agencies, and policy bodies from Asia and Europe have confirmed their participation in Leaders’ Summit 2018, including international bodies such as the ITU and GSMA.