Monday 25, July 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: du, the region’s first full member operator of the Global Certification Forum (GCF), welcomed regional and global telcos to the first MENA standardisation conference in association with GCF. A series of knowledge sharing workshops, held at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel on July 19 and 20, presented topics related to GCF such as regulations and certification, live network field trials, and a roadmap to internet of things and 5G and how these can add value for the industry and consumers throughout the Middle East.
The agenda consisted of several workshops one of which gave an introduction to GCF, its regulations, and the business benefits of device certification. One workshop, An Operator’s Guide to GCF Certification, gave an overview of the current scope of certification, including its new features and how devices are certified. The workshop of Roadmap included an explanation of how the scheme has evolved to accommodate new technologies such as 4G LTE, NFC, VoLTE, and RTE, opportunities presented by Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G in the mobile industry, and how certification can ultimately add value to a variety of business models. The Live Network Field Trials workshop highlighted how network field trials can detect product issues prior to commercial launch and test configurations under different network conditions.
The event days were split between operators and other vendors, to gain holistic insights into industry perspectives. The first day of the event focused on the input and feedback from telecom operators around the region, including the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Dubai. The focus on the second day was more geared towards terminal vendors, chipset vendors, SIM vendors, and test system vendors.
Saleem AlBlooshi, Executive Vice President of Network Development and Operations at du, said: “We are extremely pleased with the success of the event, which brought industry experts together to help achieve simplicity and convenience for customers throughout the region. The GCF cooperation will enable us to enhance the end-user experience, device quality, and service quality. This is a positive step towards creating a GCC-GCF standard which will enable the two way technology sync among the GCC countries, reduce the certification cost and will encourage the Terminal vendors to adopt the standard.”
The workshop built on the growing connections between GCF and the mobile industry in the Gulf. In January 2015, shortly after it officially became a GCF Field Trial Qualified Operator, du hosted GCF’s Conformance Agreement Group and Field Trial and Interoperability Agreement Group for the first time in the region. du became a GCF full Operator Member around mid-2015. This workshop was a precursor to GCF’s principle decision-making body, its Steering Group, planned meeting in Dubai in December 2016.

“The workshops held with mobile industry stakeholders in the Middle East gave us the insights we require to ensure an increase in the value of GCF device certification in the region,” said Lars Nielsen, GCF General Manager.

While GCF Certification has been developed to serve the global market for mobile devices, the aim of the workshop was for GCF to identify whether additional information could be provided through its database of certified devices that could add value in different regional markets. Questions that were asked include: does the device incorporate Arabic language support, support all frequencies in the region, comply with all regulated security standards, close the gap of non-branded devices, offer best user experience and mature quality for both user and network.