Dubai: SAMENA Telecommunications Council's Beyond Connectivity (BYC) was held in Muscat, Oman, on March 16.
The conference was attended by more than 180 participants from around the GCC region.
Organised with the primary purpose of highlighting sustainability challenges and to help progress toward building the regional digital economy, digital services, regional digital transformation, and understanding the socio-economic value of the cross-border communications, the Beyond Connectivity conference provided an open platform for a healthy dialogue on sensitive industry matters.
Beyond Connectivity was Diamond-sponsored by Omantel and Platinum-sponsored by Etisalat.
Successfully executed under the theme "Building Corridors in Digital Development to Fulfill National Commitment”, Beyond Connectivity reiterated the need to build corridors of communication, innovation, understanding, and digital enablement.
The chief guest on the occasion Said Bin Hamdoon Al Harthy, undersecretary for Ports and Maritimes Affairs, Ministry of Transport & Communications, said the region cannot afford to ignore what is happening in digital development.
TRA's Executive President and Guest of Honour, Dr Hamed Salim Al Rawahi, stated that policy-makers and regulators have important tasks ahead of them, and that given the digital development trends, licensing and the overall regulatory frameworks are evolving, keeping industry stakeholders' priorities in mind.
Omantel CEO, Sheikh Talal Said Marhoon Al Mamari, recognised that, as a part of the industry's transformational phase, telecom operators and technology providers are trying to find their way; a necessity which resonates with the need to create a sustainable digital ecosystem.
Acknowledging that SAMENA Council has made it possible for operators and policy-makers to gain clearer picture through the verbalisation and alignment of priorities, Sheikh Talal emphasised the need to paint the true picture of where the industry has reached and where it needs to go.
Etisalat International CEO, Hatem Dowidar, shared his perspective on the soul-searching process, which is happening within the telecom operator community, and how critical it has become for operators and governments to cooperate in better ways.
"The regional communications industry is in the process of coming together and overcoming all forms of challenges through dialogue and discussion", said Bocar BA, CEO of SAMENA Council.
"There is just no other way for us to address the complexities that we face as stakeholders and all efforts do need to be exerted into understanding the core realities of our evolving ICT industry, and of those industries that are directly impacted by it. I am personally very pleased by the stakeholder confidence expressed in support of SAMENA Council during Beyond Connectivity and the outcomes of the discussion, which have defined areas for us to do follow-up work on. We feel honored that industry stakeholders have chosen to entrust SAMENA Council to help build important but equally challenging corridors, and to assist the industry in obtaining clarity on sensitive industry matters, such as taxation, which cannot be addressed unilaterally."