Dominican Republic’s radio spectrum plan has 5G as a beacon

A public consultation, many hours of analysis, meetings and observations gathered from specialists and international bodies such as the Inter-American Telecommunications Union (ITU) and 5G America, marked the path of a path that the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) decided to follow and that today shows its first goal: it approved its “Master Plan for the Use of the Radio Spectrum” (PMUER), with a horizon of five and ten years, but also with more immediate objectives.

The resolution, -available here- aims to “prepare” the country and place it at the forefront in the construction of 5G networks; framework in which it analyzes the offers of Claro and Altice for the 3.5 GHz band; but also on the way to its analog switch-off and is part of a larger strategy, in which the reduction of its digital divide and economic growth are a core part. For this reason, it establishes short, medium and long term deadlines, which show a telecommunications policy that has been working within a modern and ambitious transformation framework, with a view to the next decade, that of 2030.

The initiative has five specific objectives: to plan an efficient use of the spectrum to enable the supply of different services, needs and technological advances; to improve the procedures and automation of the processes for its assignment; to consolidate the spectrum monitoring and control model; to update the regulatory regime around an optimal use; and to leverage knowledge management in spectrum issues.

The plan establishes, among other things, the need to conduct a study and mapping on the use of 5G networks, which will be delineated by the second quarter of 2022: “Given the high demand for spectrum, the development of new technology and the purpose of being at the forefront of it, this study aims to provide the Dominican Republic with the relevant information to develop a strategy that allows early development and early implementation of 5G networks”.

In this case, it is expected that in the fourth quarter of 2022 there will be a ten-year release plan and points to bands such as L, 600 MHz and those located above it, to be used for 5G. “Bands that have a medium-term allocation projection should be prioritized,” admits the resolution and adds that it also aims to have an international participation strategy by the first quarter of 2023.

Another objective, to be developed between the fourth quarter of 2022 and 2024, is to have an updated PNAF and to be able to determine processes for the release of bands identified for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), “to be auctioned in the short term,” says the regulator’s letter.

Thus, the roadmap for IMT bands, including those for 5G, will define the frequencies and the amount in MHz available and needed for the next five years, as well as the main players. In this way, this plan is proposed as a link with the political objectives of the administration by promoting “greater coverage of public telecommunications services, a highly digital government, ICTs as a transversal axis of the digital economy and the country’s growth”.

Another good example is given by the initiatives to plan and make the spectrum available “for the implementation of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and the release of the digital dividend”. In this case, it is about advancing in an orderly migration of the 700 MHz band and the transition to DTT; and a proposal to reorganize the broadcasting bands for television in view of the analog switch-off.

In this regard, the fourth quarter of 2021 would be the time when definitions and guidelines for the following two years would be available so that, by the end of 2022, television broadcasting service concessionaires are already operating in ATSC 1.0 digital format. The plan is that, in five years, the TTD will be a reality and the analog switch-off a fact.

In turn, this approval points to the Universal Service as the key to reach the entire population with Internet; connectivity strategies to prevent and mitigate natural disaster scenarios, automation to facilitate spectrum allocation and the deepening of control policies to detect and combat the illegal use of frequencies.

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