This note summarises recent announcements from the telecommunications regulators in Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Where appropriate, content from the relevant announcements has been incorporated into the text below.

  1. GCC

Meeting between GCC and the EU to discuss telecommunication law and policy

In June 2012 telecommunications governmental entities from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries met a delegation from the EU to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest and promote cooperation between the GCC and EU, including in relation to: VoIP, EU experience in general policies, legislation in cyber-crimes, the EU experience in promoting bandwidth, child protection, services that promote competition in the ICT sector, interconnection, and the EU experience in international mobile roaming.

See http://www.tra.gov.ae/news429.php.

  1. BAHRAIN

Regulator issues report on future demands for access to radio spectrum in Bahrain

In July 2012 the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Bahrain (TRA-B) issued a report setting out its response to input received during a consultation on the potential future demands for access to radio spectrum in Bahrain. The consultation exercise was intended to develop spectrum policy in Bahrain and improve the predictability of the TRA-B’s decisions related to spectrum management. The report contains a copy of the telecommunications spectrum release plan that was adopted by the TRA-B in March 2012 and which sets outs the proposed allocation and target release date for frequency bands and the award mechanism that will be used to license such frequency bands to telecommunications providers.

See http://www.tra.org.bh/en/pdf/ReportonSpectrumReleasePlanConsultationFina1l.pdf.

  1. JORDAN

Regulator launches consultation on e-signature usage and needs in Jordan

In August 2012, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in Jordan (TRC) issued a questionnaire to a number of stakeholders in Jordan, including public bodies, private companies, chambers of commerce and banks and insurance companies. The questionnaire was designed to gather information about the e-signature usage and electronic identity needs in Jordan. The results of the questionnaire are expected to be available in the final quarter of 2012.

See http://www.trc.gov.jo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2526&Itemid=1&lang=english.

  1. OMAN

Regulator launchespublicconsultation on telecommunicationsindustry entitled"Market Definition andDominance Report"

The Telecommunications RegulatoryAuthorityin Oman (TRA-O) hasrecentlyinvited commentsfrom stakeholders and interested parties,including consumers and members of the public, on the draft Market Definition andDominance Report.

The TRA-Ois in the process of creating a competitive environment in the telecommunicationssector in Oman and has recently issued Market Definition and Dominance Guidelinesfollowing anextensive public consultation.

The next stage in this process is to carryout "Market analysis". This analysis comprisesmarketdefinition, dominance determination,and proposing suitable remedies to avoid risk of harm ofdominance.The TRA-O’spreliminary analysis,with preliminary recommendations, is set outinthe draftMarket Definition and Dominance Report.Comments are to be submitted by 3 October2012.

See http://www.tra.gov.om/newsite1/NewsDetails.aspx?newsid=271.

  1. QATAR

ictQATAR publishes2011 Annual Report

The Supreme Councilof Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) has releasedits 2011 annual report,which covers the last fiscalyear from April 2011 to March2012.

The Annual Reportdetails how ictQATARhasworked to improve connectivity, boost human capacity, foster economic development and modernise the sector’s regulatoryand legalframework.

The full report,which includes more detailed information on ictQATAR’s accomplishments and the progress made towards making Qatar a fullynetworked nation, can be viewed here:http://www.ictqatar.qa/en/documents/document/ictqatar-annual-report-2011.

Public consultation on Qatar’s Radio Spectrum Licensing Framework

ictQATAR haslaunched a consultation on itsRadio Spectrum Licensing framework. The purpose of the framework isto define and clarifythe regulations for the licensing of spectrumfor allserviceswhich currently use spectrum in Qatar, to provide guidelineswhich will assist applicantsfor spectrum licences and to reduce the administrative burden for applicants and for ictQATAR in the management of spectrum and the licensing process.

The consultation aims to provide stakeholdersthatwish to license spectrum with an opportunityto respond and contribute to the formulation of the Radio Spectrum Licensing regime.

See http://www.ictqatar.qa/en/news-events/news/ictqatar-opens-public-consultation-radio-spectrum-licensing-framework.

  1. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Regulatory meeting onprotection ofuser privacy in United Arab Emirates

In August2012,the Telecommunications RegulatoryAuthorityin the United Arab Emirates(TRA-U) and the NationalMedia Councilexamined ways of cooperatinginrelation to safeguarding the privacyof mobile phone users in the UAE, particularly in regard to reducing spam via mobile phones.

The meeting emphasised the need to adhere to regulatory policy regarding spam and electronic communication issued by the TRA on 30 December 2009 (see http://www.tra.gov.ae/download.php?filename=policies_regulations/Unsolicited%20Electronic%20Communications%20Regulatory%20Policy%20V1.0%20and%20Mobile%20Spam%20Annex.pdf)

See also http://www.tra.gov.ae/news_The_TRA_and_the_National_Media_Council_Meet_to_Preserve_Users%92_Privacy_in_the_UAE-442-1.php.