The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), Saudi Arabia’s digital regulator, has launched WiFi-6E as part of a raft of measures aimed at boosting connectivity in the Kingdom.
The latest generation of Wi-Fi technology offers data transmission speeds more than five times faster than the current standard and provides more capacity for high-bandwidth activities such as 8k gaming, video conferencing and virtual reality applications.
The announcement was made on the sidelines of the global technology conference LEAP22, which is taking place in Riyadh from 1 to 3 February.
“WiFi-6E technology will provide high connection speeds of up to 2.4 Gbit/s, and will position the Kingdom at the cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and the Internet of Things. As a result, the contribution of Wi-Fi technologies to the Kingdom’s GDP is expected to quadruple, rising from $4.7 billion in 2021 to more than $18 billion by 2030.”
The launch of WiFi-6E accelerates the Kingdom’s rapid WiFi expansion. Saudi Arabia became the first country in the Middle East, Europe, or Africa to allocate the entire 6GHz band for unlicensed use in 2021. As a result, the Kingdom now has more than 2 GHz of spectrum authorized for Wi-Fi operations, the most of any country in the world.
The Kingdom’s WiFi upgrade will be accompanied by other connectivity-boosting initiatives, including the deployment of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology to extend reliable coverage to remote areas of the Kingdom. The roll-out of LEO infrastructure will also connect the Kingdom with the global space market, which stood at around $341 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $576 billion by 2030.
CITC will also hold a frequency auction during the first half of this year, a development which is likely to place Saudi first globally for spectrum available to fifth-generation (5G) networks and mobile communications. 5G technology is estimated to contribute more than $15 billion to GDP by 2030, up from $1.4 billion in 2021.
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