The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has issued its ‘3-year Outlook for Commercial and Innovative Use of the Spectrum in Saudi Arabia’, as part of the National Spectrum Strategy. CITC is planning to allocate or improve access to more than 23GHz of spectrum for a wide range of uses, of which 4GHz will be licensed, 6.2GHz will be license-exempt, and more than 13GHz will be lightly licensed. Consequently, CITC is planning to allocate licensed spectrum in the 600MHz, 700MHz, 1500MHz, extended 2100MHz, 3800MHz-4000MHz and 26GHz frequency bands for mobile use between 2021 and 2023. The CITC is planning to commence an auction for 600MHz, 700MHz SDL, 723MHz-733MHz/778MHz-788MHz, 1980MHz-2010MHz/2170MHz-2200MHz and 3800MHz-4000MHz airwaves in H2 2021, with the frequencies scheduled to be available for mobile use within one to three years after the award (except for the 600MHz band, which will be subject to a clearance schedule). Spectrum in the 1500MHz and 26GHz bands will be auctioned in H2 2022. In addition, the CITC is planning to allocate between 2×3MHz and 2×5MHz in the 450MHz band for a nationwide specialised network; the procedure and the mechanism of releasing the spectrum will be announced in H1 2021.
Mohammed Al-Tamimi, CITC’s governor, explained the reasoning behind the new spectrum outlook: ‘Allocating new spectrum for emerging wireless technologies to enable many use cases across different industries and verticals will help Saudi Arabia to build a digital society. CITC is adopting a progressive spectrum policy to meet spectrum demand of this wireless proliferation, and enable technologies of the future like 5G, broadband satellite and new generation of WiFi to have fair access to spectrum.’