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An Event of MENA Proportions
by Martin Jarrold
Chief of International Program Development, GVF

The Middle East often claims the media headlines. Recently this has, in part, been due to escalating oil prices, which pushes the GDP of the region’s oil producers sky-high. Even before the most recent oil-price “gushers”, Middle Eastern countries were realizing an average annual GDP growth of almost 6 percent. This level of economic expansion is well reflected in, and partly facilitated by, growth in the size of national telecom markets across the region.

The regional appetite for broadband connectivity is a major driver of this growth in the national telecom markets of the Middle East countries. The appetite originates in an ever increasing emphasis on Internet access as a means to improving education at schools and universities, as well as from the applications demands of a range of private sector verticals ranging across oil and gas exploration and production, financial services, maritime transportation, and many more.

It is within this broad market environment the program for the forthcoming GVF Middle East & North Africa Satellite Summit is offered. The event will examine today’s unprecedented levels of demand for IP-based services from millions of communications solution end-users across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Large-enterprise, Small-to-Medium (SME) businesses, Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) and residential users alike—all continue to clamor for cost-effective access to reliable solutions in order to accelerate the accessibility of a multitude of bandwidth-hungry, interactive applications. To meet this demand, multiple delivery platforms and technologies, notably satellite, are rapidly being deployed around the MENA regions. In the enterprise sector alone, a combination of the pent-up demand for broadband access solutions, together with a liberalizing satellite market environment, is helping drive this region’s business opportunities.

With this market liberalization continuing to advance, many countries across the region have established separate telecoms regulatory authorities. These authorities possess greater or lesser degrees of independence from the policy-making national administration. Eight of the 15 countries in the region have achieved tangible separation between regulatory and policy-making functions. The seven that lag behind in this separation process (Iran, Syria, Yemen, to name three) are, not surprisingly, the least liberalized markets. As of June 2007, these three Middle East countries, together with Lebanon and Kuwait, plus Iraq (facing understandable special circumstances), continued to exhibit total state-ownership of their incumbent telco. None of the other nine countries had moved to total privatization of the incumbent and they demonstrate a mix of minority and majority state-ownership.

From government networks to financial services, from oil and gas to the marine transportation environment, and from the education and health sectors to the reconstruction of Iraq, the international satellite communications industry is moving to address fixed satellite service (FSS) and mobile satellite service (MSS) requirements for bandwidth, ground segment hardware, and value-added services. And, more than ever before, the emphasis of the regional communications market agenda revolves around how to satisfy an ever-increasing demand for cross-border solutions.

Over March 5th and 6th, GVF will be co-locating the Middle East & North Africa Satellite Summit (MENASAT) with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) 14th International Electronic Media & Satellite Communications exhibition for the Middle East, Africa & South Asia (CABSAT).

In previous years, the GVF MENASAT Summit had been co-located with the annual GITEX show, also held at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC). As in previous years, during each annual CABSAT exhibition, the GVF has formerly scheduled a one-day satellite symposium. Now, in recognition of the ever increasing importance of the CABSAT exhibition for the satellite communications industry, GVF has enhanced its collaboration with DWTC and has repositioned MENASAT in the calendar. This new date should provide a significantly value-added and extended conference component to the CABSAT 2008 exhibition during the second and third days of the show.

GVF has partnered with UK-EMP for the planning, promotion and delivery of MENASAT@CABSAT 2008, the theme of which is ‘Growing the Broadband Networking Environment & the MENA Satellite Dynamic’.

The fundamental questions to be addressed at the MENASAT@CABSAT 2008 Summit include:
  • How are satellite-based broadband solutions competing in this dynamic environment?
  • What are the advantages of satellite-based broadband solutions?
  • What are the unique characteristics of satellite broadband?
  • How do broadband satellite service providers build their business cases?
  • How will satellite-based services continue to evolve to match future market and demand dynamics?
  • Where are the revenue streams to be achieved and profits to be made?
The MENASAT@CABSAT 2008 Summit will bring together industry leaders to identify and discuss the development of new opportunities in satellite services and technologies. The emphasis in 2008 will be on discussion and the interactive exchange of ideas between delegates and representatives of satellite users, as well as operators, manufacturers and analysts. This conference will provide an unrivalled networking opportunity for the MENA region.

The 12 Session Themes
  • Regional Access & Applications: Satellite Networking Connectivity Initiatives & the Dynamics of IP Convergence
  • State-of-the-Art Maximization of Satellite Bandwidth in the MENA Region
  • Applications Study: Business Continuity & Disaster Response
  • Market Vertical Study: Marine Transportation Sector
  • 21st Century Satellite Pure-Plays & Hybrids: Regional Alignment of the Convergence Factor & the Mobile Dynamic
  • Applications Study: Sustainable Economic & Social Development through Education Provision & Health Promotion
  • Regional Study: Communications & the Reconstruction of Iraq
  • The View from the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC)
  • The New Training Dynamic in Regional Capacity Building
  • Market Vertical Study: The Energy Industries & GVF Market Sector Initiatives
  • Alternative Satellite Technologies & Next Generation Networking: Market Opportunity in the Evolution of Platforms & Performance
  • Driving the New Dynamics of the Regional Broadband Satellite Solution
Full details of the ‘Growing the Broadband Networking Environment & the MENA Satellite Dynamic’ program, including full descriptions of the above listed sessions, are available at http://www.gvf-events.org. Information about opportunities to speak at the Summit can be obtained from me at martin.jarrold@gvf.org. Information regarding sponsorships can be obtained from Paul Stahl of UK-EMP at paul.stahl@uk-emp.co.uk.

About UK-EMP

UK—EMP was founded in 2004 for the purpose of developing, organizing, and managing a niche portfolio of highly specialised conferences and summits for the ICT industry. Our primary geographical focus is on rapidly developing, as well as developed, regional markets. The UK-EMP focus on these geo-territories is founded on the extensive and direct experience of our personnel and partners in these markets, and on an extensive ‘Database of Expertise’; comprising professional contacts obtained, and maintained, for countries throughout these, and other, regions.

Martin Jarrold joined the GVF in June of 2001 and was appointed to the position of Chief of International Programme Development. Prior to joining the GVF, Mr. Jarrold was Commissioning Editor and Head of Research for Space Business International magazine.