In association with du, Global Certification Forum to host workshops to seek input from MENA telecom sector

Monday 18 July 2016

Dubai - MENA Herald: The Global Certification Forum (GCF) is to seek input and feedback from mobile industry stakeholders about how its mobile phone certification scheme could add value for the industry and consumers in the Middle East. In association with UAE-based telecom service provider - du, GCF will host two workshops in Dubai during 19-20 July for operators from the region, mobile phone vendors and distributors.
More than 90 manufacturers globally use GCF Certification to demonstrate that their mobile phones conform to industry standards and interoperate correctly and effectively across any mobile network infrastructure. The certification is recognised by leading operator groups from the United States, Japan, China, India, Korea, Australasia and Europe.
With its philosophy of “test once, use anywhere”, GCF’s industry-defined certification scheme enhances the consumer experience by reducing interoperability issues and underpinning roaming services. Some countries in the Gulf are currently investigating whether GCF certification could play a role in their local type approval requirements.
While GCF Certification has been developed to serve the global market for mobile devices, GCF wants to identify whether additional information relevant to particular regions could be captured in its database of certified devices: for example, whether a device offers Arabic language support or not, or if a device supports all frequencies in the region, compliance of devices with security standards in the region, and if the device closes the gap between branded and non-branded devices and offers best user experience and mature quality for both user and network.
The workshop will build on growing connections between GCF and the mobile industry in the Gulf. GCF’s Conformance Agreement Group and Field Trial and Interoperability Agreement Group met for the first time in the region in January 2015. In 2014, du became the first company in the Middle East to become a Field Test Qualified Operator (FTQO), of the Global Certification Forum (GCF), and in 2015 du was the first company in the MENA region to host GCF Agreement Group meetings. In 2015, du and Anite unveiled the Middle East's first State-of-the Art Terminal Innovation Lab in UAE. du subsequently became full Operator Members of GCF during 2015. GCF’s principle decision making body, its Steering Group, will meet in Dubai in December 2016.
“Participation and input from more mobile industry stakeholders in the Gulf can further increase the value of GCF device certification to the region,” said Lars Nielsen, GCF General Manager.
The Workshop agenda will include an introduction to GCF and the business benefits of device certification; an overview of the current scope of certification and an explanation of how the scheme has evolved to accommodate new technologies such as 4G LTE, NFC, VoLTE, and RCS. The roadmap towards the commercialisation of 5G will also be discussed.
Saleem AlBlooshi, Executive Vice President of Network Development and Operations at du, said, “What we want to achieve with GCF a simplicity and convenience for our end customers. With the GCF cooperation, we expect to see an enhancement in user experience, device quality and service quality. We wanted to ensure our customers to have best quality offered with a quick Time to Market launch for the consumer as well as for enterprise segment. We are currently working in a major initiative to create 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 GCC GCF standard. du is working also in the 5G deployment and building a E2E standardized certification lab.
AlBlooshi added “The recent successful hosting of the GCF FTAG and CAG meeting is a motor for us to further convert ourselves to a central standardization hub, is a further impetus to the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in establishing the UAE as a global leader in all aspects and as an innovator in technology in the Middle East region.”
A new record of 540 mobile devices were certified through the Global Certification Forum in 2015. Continued growth in demand for smartphones incorporating LTE helped drive GCF device certifications higher than the previous record of 536 set in 2014. Nearly 70 per cent of devices certified during 2015 incorporated 4G LTE.

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