Posted on February 23, 2017

The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has made considerable progress in management and allocation of scarce resources like numbering, and domain names in 2016, it was announced.

Throughout the year, CRA allocated 100,000 mobile numbers to service providers, registered 2,981 new Qatari domains, and approved 74 requests for mobile sites. CRA also supported the development of telecom infrastructure and network readiness by handling 9,700 requests for infrastructure projects. “As the data reflects, CRA played a central and active role in ensuring the efficient management of national resources as well as continuously monitoring and enabling growth of diverse areas in the communications sector in the state of Qatar,” said president Mohamed Ali al-Mannai. “CRA’s role is an enabler of technological innovations and the provision of advanced services, and we encourage individuals and businesses to adopt distinctly Qatari domains and other digital platforms,” he explained.

Of the total of 22,210 Qatari Domains registered so far, the Qatar Domains Registry (QDR) registered 2,981 new ones in 2016, and registrations of all “.qa” and “قطر.” related domain names grew by 5.20% which indicates steady growth. Qatar has the provision of several extensions for .qa to choose from depending on the identity, intent and purpose of the domain name. The data indicates that these domain extensions are serving the Qatari market and community well, CRA will continue to make efforts to increase uptake of Qatari Domains.

CRA is responsible for allocation of national numbering resources and uses a sophisticated Numbering Management System (NMS) that enhances its capability to monitor the assignment of mobile and fixed line numbers. As of December 31, 2016, a total of 8mn mobile and 1.45mn fixed line numbers have been allocated. In 2016, a total of 100,000 new mobile numbers were allocated to service providers, 30,272 mobile numbers were ported under mobile number portability, and 5,943 were returned. In 2017, CRA intends to introduce a Fixed Numbering Portability which will increase competition in the market and give consumers more choice.

CRA also monitors and regulates the communications sector and ensures the efficient management and usage of new and existing mobile sites’ coverage. In 2016, CRA saw a 114% increase in requests for approvals for the construction of new mobile sites (92 in 2016 compared to 43 in 2015). Of these 92 sites, 74 applications were approved and sent to the relevant government entities for final approval and 18 applications were rejected – for a range of reasons, the most common being the availability of nearby ‘on-air’ sites within 500m of the requested new location.

Q-PRO system is an online ‘road opening’ permit system, operated and designed by Ashghal to reduce the paper-based system for permissions. Through the system, CRA handled 8,900 no-objection-requests in 2016, the majority of which were processed within two working days. CRA also handled 800 applications on Qatar Online Design Review System (Q-DRS) which has been operational from March 2016. Most of the applications were proceeded within a period of 10 or less working days. Q-DRS system provides single environment for planning and utility service entities to collaborate, review and approve the design of any infrastructure projects.